Liberal 'ethics' become an issue in Parkdale-High Park and across Canada

Dear friends and Parkdale-High Park neighbours,

Recently, both the media and voters have been asking me what I think about a $250-a-plate fundraiser being organized for my Liberal opponent by a group of powerful interests with a lot at stake in an important issue before Parliament. My opponent, Ms Sarmite Bulte, is parliamentary secretary to the Liberal Heritage Minister responsible for this issue, and has great influence on the content of any legislation addressing it.

Let’s remember the context. Over the past year, we have seen increasing evidence of illegal and inappropriate actions by the Liberal party of Canada. And now, during the campaign, the Liberal income-trust scandal has broken as well as further RCMP investigations around other issues.

As a result, Canadians have become more and more concerned about the illegal and unethical behaviour of the Liberals in Ottawa, and so political honesty and accountability have emerged as a key issue in this campaign.

The fundraiser, as well as campaign contributions to Ms Bulte from these well-funded, well-connected groups, came under scrutiny last week at an all-candidates’ meeting in Swansea, in the blogosphere, in news stories, and in the Toronto Star.

I am very troubled by what has come to light. Those who seek public office need to be especially careful not to allow themselves to be compromised -- or even appear to be compromised -- by accepting campaign contributions from groups representing one side in a controversial debate on a current issue (in this case copyright) four days before a general election.

As law professor Michael Geist said in the Toronto Star, “What message does it send, when [these groups support] one of the leading people on copyright policy, possibly even the future Heritage Minister, about how balanced that policy is going to be?”

Further Jack Granatstein, Canadian historian and author of more than a dozen books on Canadian politics was quoted on the CP wire story when asked to comment on the January 19 fundraiser, “I worry when any politician at any time but particularly in an election time is given a fundraiser by a lobby group. Politicians should be somewhat more careful than to be seen to be in the pocket of a particular collection of lobbyists on a matter of public importance.”

I told a reporter that if this was the big banks organizing a fundraiser for the Finance Minister, people would have serious concerns about this behaviour.

Government must not be -- and must not seen to be -- captive to insiders, lobbyists, or well-connected interests. Elected representatives must act in the public interest, not in the special interest, and so must stay well clear of activities that could in any way be seen as a conflict of interest.

On January 9, there will be another opportunity to see the national leaders debate and in January 11 at 7:30 there will be a local all candidates meetings organized by the Bloor West Residents Association at Runnymede United Church on Runnymede Ave, north of Ardagh. I would love to see you there.

Please don’t hesitate to call the campaign office at 416.769.5072. Your help is important to us.

PS Welcome to the hundreds of voters who have asked to be added to my e-newsletter in recent days



Sunday, Jan. 8, 2006



Liberal MP takes flak for fundraiser by copyright lobbyists
from CBC News: Canada Votes 2006

Funny Money Raiser
Commentary by theToronto Star's Antonia Zerbisias

Film, record industry fundraiser for Liberal MP a `worry'
from CP newswire

Media Release: Nash Questions Bulte Fundraiser Ethics

All Candidates Debates

Wed. January 11 7:30 pm
All Candidates Debate hosted by Bloor West Village Residents Association at Runnymede United Church, Runnymede north or Ardagh

Thurs. January 12 7:30 pm
All Candidates Debate hosted by Sunnyside Community Association and High Park Residents Association. Location: Bishop Marrocco-Thomas Merton Collegiate High School, Bloor and Dundas.

Contact Peggy’s

Campaign office :
2962 Dundas St. West
(corner of Dundas & Pacific)
Mon.-Thurs. 10am - 9pm
Fri. 10am - 8pm,
Sat. 9:30am - 6pm
Sun. 12 noon - 6pm


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