06 September 2007

Summer of Love: MHAs continue gifts of public money

Remember Tom Rideout's dance trying to explain away how he and all his colleagues in the House of Assembly misled the public on when the Green report was taking effect?

Remember his gift of $5000 of public money to a local charity just a few short weeks before Chief Justice Derek Green condemned the practice?

Remember the claim that the Progressive Conservative caucus had taken The Pledge and would not be handing out public money as gifts? It was a big part of the story on how - according to Rideout - today was today but tomorrow was October 9 and not June 15, the day after the Green bill was passed. The old rules can stay in place - even though we suggested something else to you already - because we have promised not to hand out public money as gifts to the public.

Turns out to have been a crock.

The gifts - always labelled "donations" - are just coming from a different pot than the one they used to come from.

Clayton Forsey, the Progressive Conservative MHA for Exploits, shows up in St. Alban's (not in his district) in August and is referred to in the local paper as handing out $500 "on behalf of" none other than Premier Danny Williams.

Then two weeks later, the local paper prints a correction saying that the "donation" - to a local fundraiser for a cancer centre - was actually from the provincial health department. The money came, but it was from the health department. Check the hard copy because Transcon hasn't updated thecoaster.ca for almost a month.

Delivered by Clayton Forsey, mind you and so obviously identified as a partisan. The money didn't come from the minister or even the deputy minister or even the head of the local health authority. Nope it came from visiting Tory back-bencher, like that was a secret.

Since when does any provincial line department give a "donation" to an event such as this in the first place let alone deliver a cheque by such an obviously partisan means?

Good cause, mind you but departments put up the capital to build cancer centres and staff them. They don't make "donations" to local fundraisers, especially through an MHA, Tory now or Liberals before. If the Liberals did it before, then it is no more right than Forsey and whoever of his buddies are doing it these days.

This one needs some investigation by someone. If there's one example, there's like more that never got picked up by the local weekly.

This little story is highly suspicious.

So suspicious in fact that it should get the attention of the Auditor General, not to mention members of the general public who have already been misled on this issue at least once before by members of the House of Assembly.

oh yeah and while we're at it, where did this grand come from? [By mid-day this link turned up dead for some unknown reason. google search "clayton forsey $1000" and it will re-appear. Check the "cached page" for the full story from August 20. if that doesn't work, try this link which seems to be a new page identity for this story.]

Someone should be taking official notice of these goings on. After all, it's not like this is the first time Forsey's been reported handing out public money, even before the Summer of Love officially kicked off.