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It seems that Liberal leadership hopeful Joe Volpe doesn’t want people talking about the ‘donations’ that he has received from the families of a few major pharmaceutical executives. Not even the tens of thousands that he apparently received from their children.

In a story that broke last week, reports are that Liberal leadership hopeful and former Chretien and Martin loyalist Joe Volpe has received questionable donations to further his bid to wrest control of his party.

A spokesman for Mr. Volpe has since come forward to state that “every contribution is in full compliance with the law” and that Mr. Volpe’s campaign will treat statements that suggest otherwise as slanderous and libelous and dealt with in the appropriate manner. . I suppose then that Mr. Volpe may consider the following statement slanderous, even though it is not. Mr. Volpe, we have had enough of Liberals who feel that they are above the rules and that circumventing the spirit of them, even though technically legal, is alright.

It appears that the Liberal Party’s promise of change was simply referring to the man at the helm and not to their behaviour or the way that they conduct themselves. The donations that Mr. Volpe has received from the families of 4 Apotex executives clearly exceed campaign contribution limits set by Elections Canada for individuals, that being the $5,400 limit. To offset this, some of the contributions were simply registered in the names of their children.

While an adult and their spouse could reasonably be seen to give such a donation to a leadership contender for their own political convictions or gain, having one’s teenage children doing the same smacks of circumvention, and that is exactly what NDP MP Pat Martin has asked Elections Canada to investigate

“I suppose it is possible that all six children of two drug company executives would choose to donate their life savings to the Liberal leadership campaign of the member for Eglinton-Lawrence. It is possible, but it is not likely,” said Mr. Martin. It must be noted that it is illegal to make a donation in someone else’s name or on someone else’s behalf. That includes family members.

At the heart of the issue is fairness and ethics. Mr. Volpe has now received the maximum donation allowed by law from 4 Apotex executives, one former executive, and 15 of their family members; some of those being children.

It must be noted that corporate donations are not allowed for leadership campaigns as they are deemed political interference and self-serving.

The Liberal Party insisted yesterday that all of the donations to Mr. Volpe’s campaign followed the rules. “These were clearly reported by everyone and that’s because they were within the rules” said interim Liberal leader Bill Graham. The party’s national director, Steven MacKinnon, agreed.

No one at this website is even the least bit surprised by that. Are you?

After years of watching the Liberal Party do the ‘technicality dance’ around rule after rule and ethic after ethic, the shock factor has waned somewhat. At least now we can clearly see there is no real intention on the part of many in the Liberal camp to come clean of their past.

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