As I and many others have written, Joe Volpe’s candidacy for the Liberal leadership appears to have received a financial shot from Apotex executives and their children. As an update, it appears that the Liberal Party is not planning to investigate these allegations, as it is apparently perfectly normal for children to save their nickels and hundreds and hand them over by the chocolate-stained fistfulls to their local Liberal riding committees. How do I get one of these gigs?
Now I’m not sure if, strictly speaking, it’s actually illegal for a 16 year-old (or whatever, we don’t know yet how old the donors are) to give their allowance to Joe Volpe, but it sure smells bad. Seeing as it is illegal to work around Elections Canada donation laws, and this seems to be the case at hand here, there is at the very least the appearance of wrongdoing, and the Liberals should be far more concerned with this appearance than they appear to be.
If I was a Liberal, I’d be hopping mad right now – and I’m sure many are. The Conservatives came to power this year solely because the public felt that the Liberal Party looked a little too cozy in power; as if they felt entitled to govern. Actions like Volpe’s lend nicely to this scenario and validate the public’s decision lasy January. If the Liberals ever want to govern this country again, they are going to have to take away, or at least share, the mantle of accountability that the Conservatives have donned. Why they have not taken Volpe to the woodshed over this is beyond me – it is a lose/lose scenario for them. Either Elections Canada finds nothing technically wrong with the donations, Volpe continues on to lose the leadership race and the public is left with a stink that someone got away with something, or Elections Canada finds something wrong with the donations and the Liberals are in the position of disciplining him only after being forced to.
I know that he’s innocent until proven guilty, but I’m sorry “Elections Canada regulates contributions to leadership candidates. The Liberal Party does not,” is lame. The Liberal Party might not regulate contributions, but they are responsible for the behaviour of their people, at least to the public.
It looks like the Liberals are losing the forest for trees here.