Fantino’s election spending finally getting its due review
“Funny how (Election Canada) has infinite resources to ruin the life of a young man, Michael Sona, who was so far from being the criminal mastermind of robocalls that it’s laughable. And yet they take nearly three years to audit five pages of one of the real masterminds of the government. Secrets, secrets and more secrets. How about a little accountability for a change?”
Liddy thinks that a note she sent to Elections Canada may have lit a fire. In that note, she told investigators that she had also alerted the RCMP to a Fantino tele-conference hosted by embattled Senator Mike Duffy back in 2010 that she can’t find expensed in the candidate’s public filings.
The Duffy/Fantino tele-townhall is a bit of a mystery. There were local media accounts of the event, but only second hand. Although there was a press release, media were excluded from covering the call which took place in Julian Fantino’s Vaughan riding office. Perhaps that’s why they reported that Mike Duffy was with the candidate in his Vaughan riding office. He wasn’t.
“Tele-townhalls are ‘virtual’ meetings,” Senator Duffy told me. “In other words, they are telephone conference calls. I wasn’t in Vaughan. I can’t remember where I was, but I was at the end of a telephone – as was Fantino. I wasn’t paid, nor did I incur expenses. I know nothing about the Elections Canada Act and reporting.”
As for Elections Canada, they made a case for the delay into investigating candidate Fantino’s electoral finances. In a note to one of the complainants dated December 18, 2013, Elections Canada investigator Line Carrier explained the reason for the extended delay in reviewing the case.
“As previously explained, the Political Financing and Audit Division (PFAD) of Elections Canada had to complete the audit of the file and all amendments before we could review your complaint. The audit of the candidate’s return was recently completed and was posted on the Election Canada website “as reviewed.” The investigation of your complaint has been initiated as soon as the files were available from PFAD.”
In a separate note, dated December 23, 2013, to one of the former member’s of the Vaughan Conservative Electoral District Association, Richard Lorello, Ms. Carrier explained that the Commissioner is responsible for both compliance and enforcement under the act.
“The Commissioner assesses each case brought to his attention in light of the Act, and the particular circumstances of the case. Consequently, both the EDA and Mr. Fantino [sic] Vaughan election campaign finances could be examined in the course of this investigation.”
The complaints revolve around an alleged second bank account for the campaign that was revealed to the candidate’s Electoral District Association two months after Mr. Fantino recorded a narrow victory in a federal by-election in 2010. If true, that would violate election laws.
“During the meeting of January 18, 2011, Mr. Sam Ciccolini made the Vaughan Electoral District Conservative Board of Directors aware of a second bank account that he reported had hundreds of thousands of dollars in it,” Mr. Lorello wrote in his affidavit.
Mr. Lorello claims that he and other directors “expressed serious concerns” about the second bank account and requested a copy of the financial statements to disclose details about the funds before accepting them.
Mr. Lorello also said in his affidavit that the minutes of the January 18 meeting did not contain any reference to the discussions about the alleged second bank account, suggesting the official record had been sanitized.
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