Posted August 4, 2015
In Monday’s Globe and Mail, Susan Watson, Guelph’s doyen of the left, complained about the high cost of the 11-week federal election campaign. Her argument was directed at the Harper Tories, the ones with the most number of seats. She says the Tories will benefit more than the other parties from the election duration.
Now, those of us who live in Guelph recognize the name Susan Watson and are familiar with her pathological political hatred of all things conservative, the political party, supporters, poutine, the color blue and lust for power.
In her Globe letter, she complained about the Tories changing the Canada Elections Act means that the Conservatives will spend up to $50 million during the 11-week campaign. She does not mention that under the Electoral Expenses Reimbursement program, it will also benefit the opposition parties including her own NDP. It is based on the number of seats held when the Governor General dissolves Parliament.
Susan Watson is concerned that the campaign is too long. Now you can see why her beloved NDP possibly may not have the horses to last until the finish line next October. Well, we’ll see. She doesn’t have to look further than Guelph to see what happens to a tired and mistake-laden administration that was rejected by the people. Keep smiling Susan, lightning may strike and we’ll wind up with a pizza parliament with no party winning a majority.
She doesn’t like political donation tax benefits
Her second complaint was the tax break all Canadians receive, those that file tax returns, for donating money to official parties. She says taxpayers are “paying the price” for voluntarily donating money to their chosen party and receiving a tax benefit.
Susan, Susan, this is a voluntary program that encourages public participation and each party benefits.
Oh! Here’s the solution. Why not file a complaint with Elections Canada? You already have led a group of people asking for a reopening of the robocall investigations regarding the 2011 federal election.
Susan, you are becoming a pesky idealist who has no trouble spending the people’s money to gag a group of citizens who did not support your idol, Karen Farbridge.
Last April, Susan Watson brought a complaint about a defeated candidate in ward six receiving a donation from the citizen’s activist group GrassRoots Guelph Voters Association, Inc. (GRG). Watson is a personal friend of defeated mayor Karen Farbridge. In fact, Susan and her partner, Dr. Ian Digby, each donated $750 to the Farbridge campaign. Now that’s friendship!
The $400 donation to Glen Tolhurst, she claimed, was illegal as it was from a third party. As it later turned out there is nothing in the Ontario Municipal Elections Act that disallows donations from third parties. This is similar to the thousands spent on more than 13 candidates in the October 27 civic election by the Guelph and District Labour Council. But, we’ll never know that cost or the sources of money, will we?
One has the cannon and the rest of us are the fodder
But Susan Watson pressed on. The city clerk, Stephen O’Brien, advised her to apply to the Compliance Audit Committee (CAC), to order an audit of Mr. Tolhurst’s official election expenses report.
Why was Mr. Tolhurst singled out? Susan Watson is chair of the NDP front group’s Guelph Chapter of Fair Vote Canada. She had the group research the official October election reports for information. Voila! Up popped the Tolhurst filing in which he spent less than $4,000. Fair Vote Canada supports proportional voting sponsored by the NDP and has established a nation-wide network to achieve it.
On May 6, the CAC, with only two of three members presiding, heard evidence from Ian Flett, Watson’s lawyer and her friend Denis Galon. Evidence was also heard from David Starr representing Mr. Tolhurst. GrassRoots Guelph was not asked or participated in this hearing.
The result was a unanimous decision to order an audit.
Who is going to pay for this frivolous attempt to embarrass?
So far the cost of this exercise is a gross representation of the facts and estimated to be more than $12,000. Here’s the breakdown: Hiring Toronto lawyer, Judy Johnson, to instruct the CAC members on how it should operate; the per diem costs to the three CAC members, Lyndsay Monk, Glen Greer and George Gorringe; William Molson, CA, the city appointed auditor with a base contract of $7,500 plus $500 per meeting and disbursements, and finally the unknown cost of city staff to conduct and process the audit.
Your money is paying for this and is being used to press a vexatious and frivolous complaint that has no basis of fact.
Now the question is, who pays for all this?