Hopefully this will be the last non-issue of the year to make the news:
...the report indicates the Conservative party then discovered three delegates -- including Harper -- had exceeded their $5,400 annual limit for political contributions. As a result, the party refunded $456 each to Harper and the other two delegates.
The party has also been forced to send belated 2005 tax receipts to the roughly 3,000 delegates who attended the convention, with instructions on the complicated process required to retroactively claim the tax credit.
So, the moral of the story is that the Conservatives are bad because they paid the money back?
Mark Holland, professional fatuous twit, is still just outraged over this:
"To me, that's just as scary (as deliberately breaking the law). I mean, we have a Treasury Board president who doesn't even understand the laws he's attempting to rewrite. I mean, it's astounding. It's breathtaking.''
I think he's actually outraged that the Conservatives paid the money back. No self-respecting Liberal would have ever done that.
It's also important to point out that the Conservative party has always been open about its belief that delegate fees should not be considered political donations. So why exactly is the line of reasoning behind this principle?
For starters, the fees paid by delegates serve only to cover the costs of the convention and do not end up in the party's coffers once the convention is over. Delegates essentially pay their own way to have a voice in policy and leadership issues at conventions; the party does not benefit financially from this in any way.
It should also be noted that if delegate fees are counted as political donations then it is the Canadian taxpayer ends up picking up the tab for the delegates in attendance, as all political donations can be tax-credited. The CPC doesn't believe that Canadian taxpayers should be on the hook for CPC conventions, or, for that matter, the conventions of any political party. It is not the responsibility of the Canadian taxpayer to cover delegate fees for political conventions, but rather the responsibility of those who choose to take part in such conventions. By standing against the classification of delegate fees as political donations, the Conservative party is trying to help the Canadian Taxpayer take one less hit in their pocketbook. It is for this reason that the party attempted to pass a law that would have exempted delegate fees from being classified as party donations; Unfortunately, all three opposition parties voted against this move, even the LPC (even though it would have helped them concerning their fundraising attempts this year due to their convention).
If the Conservative Party is guilty of anything, it's developing and practising good policy for the taxpayers of this country. Ironically, by voting against the Conservative bill to exempt delegate fees from being considered political donations, the Liberals have ensured that every taxpayer will be on the hook for each party's political gamesmanship; The CPC is now compelled to oblige the taxpayer to pay for it's conventions, instead of those who actually have business at the convention.
The Conservative party paid back the amounts donated to those who "over donated" according to a piece of poor legislation, and did it openly and transparently. Canadian Taxpayers are still waiting on the Liberal Party to pay back the millions that disappeared in brown bags over a decade. As such, the LPC has no moral authority to dole out any criticism. However, don't expect this to get in the way of the howling and shrieking from the party of mock outrage.
(updated by Griff)