24 September 2013

Like we told you: no money rules for Liberal Leadership #nlpoli

SRBP told you on July 18 and this past Saturday, the Telegram had a front page story telling us that the Liberal leadership campaign has no financial rules.

James McLeod’s piece added the views from the individual candidates.  Only Danny Dumaresque plans to release any details on who gave him money and how much they gave.  The best the others will do is tell us how much they raised in total or list the individual amounts, but without indicating who gave the money.

Frankly, the campaigns and the candidates can claim anything they want.  In the absence of an independently verified set of financial statements, their claims, promises, and commitments are meaningless.

The real problem here is with the party executive.  They failed miserably on a crucial credibility issue both for the party and the candidates. 

A second piece (available online to subscribers) says that the party executive “didn’t think it was feasible to impose financial restrictions, because there’s nothing in the Elections Act governing party leadership campaigns.”

In other words, the party executive believed it had no control over its own process and no legal ability to impose any rules or restrictions. Yet the same executive committee put all sorts of other restrictions and controls on the leadership contest that they felt they could enforce despite the fact the provincial Elections Act doesn’t cover it. 

Hickey’s comments either show some pretty significant incompetence among the executive or the sort of back-room conniving that accompanied the last provincial Conservative leadership scheme.  Hickey’s comment in the second Telegram story doesn’t conclusively tip the scales toward shag-up or fix-up, but it does give you a good clue of where the party has had huge problems over the past few years:

“Is it one of those things that we probably could have worked on? Yeah. Is it one of the things that probably needs to be worked on in the future? Yeah.