06.29.2015 07:51 AM

NDP spots political landmine, decides to dance on it


  1. If you’ve got the dough, and the NDP does;
  2. If you have achieved historic levels of popularity due to the other parties’ spending scandals, and the NDP has; and
  3. If you want to campaign against the Senate, and the NDP does

Would you make this issue a hill to die on? From The Hill Times:

With MPs’ expenses still accumulating in their ridings during the summer recess and the House administration reportedly set to reject claims starting July 1, sources say the Board of Internal Economy’s battle with the NDP could hurt the party’s finances as well as its messaging in the upcoming election campaign.

“If the Board of Internal Economy starts pulling those funds back from a large number of NDP members, that’s hitting them at a really unhelpful time. They’re popular in the polls … they’re competitive in a way that they’ve never been before, and now they’re going to have [the] Board of Internal Economy sticking a spoke in their wheel?” said Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella, president of Daisy Consulting Group, in an interview last week.

“[It would] affect their ability to pay for all kinds of things at exactly the wrong time,” he said.

Can someone explain the strategy to me, here? As I’ve written before, this is the kind of issue that could seriously derail the NDP’s upward ascent.  Why the Hell didn’t they just pay the money back when they had the chance?




  1. Michael says:

    Warren, do you think the NDP’s spending affair will show up in attack ads? It kind of reminds me of AdScam.

  2. Styles says:

    Must be a lot of grumpy backbenchers.

  3. John Baglow says:

    Seems to me it’s good strategy to take the issue head-on before the other parties seize hold of it and control the narrative.

  4. Mike says:

    I don’t know the state of NDP finances, but having to come up with that kind of cash has to put a dent in your election budget.

  5. Mike says:

    A lot of people I know complain about the LPC constantly sending fundraising e mails. It’s kind of an inside joke amongst Liberals. However, yesterday I received no less than 5 emails from the NDP requesting money. So maybe their finances are not as good as we may think.

  6. Don Wilson says:

    Because paying back would be an admission of guilt, no? This way the NDP MPs can keep their moral high ground (“We have been wrongly accused”); meanwhile, the optics suck, as you point out. It almost doesn’t matter if there was in fact any overspending. What matters is the spin. But overall, this is minor stuff. People will ignore this sideshow. Sorry, Mr. K., no spoke in wheels. This bike is bound for glory (or a good ride, anyway). Even if they come in second, they will have “won”. Team Trudeau better be ready to talk coalition, or we are screwed for another 4 years

  7. KenzoS says:

    Maybe Kory Teneycke can develop some talking ‘truthful’ points for them.

  8. Lance says:

    They didn’t pay it back because they’ve never danced on the head of this pin and don’t understand the contrast between when you double- down, and when you fold.

  9. reader says:

    The answer is Mulcair. Look at how he behaved in the Duhaime defamation case. He had no chance of winning but he doubled down and insisted he had a right to say whatever he wanted about someone provided it was all part of the political game. Mulcair thinks he is a political master who can politicize any issue to his advantage. He’ll never back down because he doesn’t think he has to.

  10. Ty says:

    Because it’s the NDP. Outraged by everything, ashamed by nothing.

    • Steven says:

      Well said!

      They really believe their flatus doesn’t smell.

      Other NDP dirty moves:

      1. Layton logrolled with Harper to pull the plug on Parliament in 2005, thereby scuttling the Kelowna Accord;

      2. The Layton / Mulcair NDP’s Sherbrooke Charter (NDP avoids talk about this outside of Quebec)- it means potentially that Quebec can separate if a couple on their way to vote for Canada in a future referendum get into a car accident.

      3. Defamation of Ralph Goodale in the 2005-2006 election with strategically leaked letter from RCMP Commissioner, tipping the election further in favour of the HarperCons.

  11. Doris says:

    Because the old line parties manufactured this issue because they could. Nothing done by the NDP that hasn’t been done before but the Cons and neoCons decided to open up the issue and make up stuff and have the majority on the parliamentary committee put it to them. A true coalition at work here – look for more issues for the oldliners to cooperate on.

    • Dave says:


      Find me another example of what the NDP did with its “satellite offices”.

      Just one other example.


  12. gyor says:

    Because someone has to stand up to the corrupt abuse of the BOIE, never has the institution been used this way, its not a court and yet it acted as one, minus respecting the NDP’s rights. No witnesses were allowed to be called, rules were retroactively changed, much of it was conducted behind closed doors, when more details get out to the general public, people are going to be more concerned about what it means for they’re civil rights that the Liberals and Tories think this is acceptable, that McCarthianism is acceptable in Canada, then over the NDP’s unothidox offices, and some mail. You look at it in light of Bill C-51, frankly the abuse of the BOIE is chilling.

  13. davie says:

    A committee, with a majority of Cons and Libs, decided, in camera, to fine the NDP. Since the rules of this committee say they can do this, hold a trial in secret and take someone’s money from them without having to show any evidence or argument publically, it is a perfect way to derail the NDP in its election campaign.
    It was possible for the Libs and Cons to do this, it would have been irresponsible behavior toward their supporters not to do it. I t would also be irresponsible behavior by Libs and Cons (as, witness the comments above) not to bray self righteously about it loud and long…and hope that the whole thing never comes to an open court hearing.

    Of course it derails the NDP campaign. That was the reason for doing this in the first place.

  14. Priyesh says:

    It’s a hell of a bet. As a few people pointed out, paying it back seems like an admission of guilt. It’s true that the Board of Internal Economy is mainly Liberals and Conservatives. Last I checked, the NDP was appealing the decision to a real judge.

    The flip side is if that appeal fails. The coverup is often worse than the crime.

    • davie says:

      True that.
      I usually support NDP, but I want this done in an open court, and whatever the outcome, we’ll deal with it. But do it openly, and properly.

  15. Tiger says:

    They’re stubborn.

    Doesn’t always hurt. My party has a stubborn leader who doesn’t back down on issues where, frankly, it’d make sense to.

  16. gyor says:

    It won’t fail, the NDP did nothing wrong.

  17. Luke says:

    From my point of view, this NDP ‘scandal’ isn’t something I really care about. It is just another form of noise coming from Ottawa. The other parties are comparatively worse on such matters (by virtue of having histories of being in power and the scrutiny and abuse of power that go along). The NDP has more credibility in terms of being principled (not to say they are or will be once in power), and as a result I can give them some benefit of the doubt and continue not paying attention to such tedium. I want a viable alternative to the Connies (meaning I want them gone), and this mini-scandal is insufficient for me to seriously discount the NDP. They have the momentum, and I now require better convincing to consider the Liberals as a better vehicle for change in government.

    Warren, I get the financial argument (although they would be losing the money one way or the other, no?), but your points about the meaninglessness of scandals really come to mind here. There have been countless scandals, large and small, coming out of the current government, many of which offend me more than this one. I haven’t read the details, but it sounds to me like the NDP used taxpayer money for a valid purpose, just in technically disallowed locations… I care exactly zero about this if the amount of money and the purpose of its use is normal practice.

    • Warren says:

      I haven’t changed my mind about scandals.

      Why this is significant is this: it takes away an argument the NDP have been successfully been deploying for months (and helping them get more popular in the process).

      • Luke says:

        Makes sense.

        Although if they are appealing the whole thing and claiming innocence, I see merit in not paying out and implying guilt.

  18. JH says:

    Personally I and probably most of the average citizens out there, just move on when they hear the word scandal. The media has so debased the word with their scandal-a-day dramas, few pay attention anymore outside the Ottawa bubble. I follow the local media online and via satellite from a couple of communities where we once lived and rarely do they pay much attention to what energizes the uber-partisans and the commentariat.

  19. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    If my name was NDP and I wanted to defuse the satellite offices, I would come out in favour of audits of the House of Commons by the Auditor General. I don’t believe for one second that they are more conscientious than the Senate.

    Besides, the Board of Internal Economy is nothing more than a partisan joke with zero credibility on a good day…

  20. LindaL says:

    Perhaps Trudeau and Harper should refuse to debate with Mulcair until the NDP repays the $3 Million back to taxpayers. Now that would throw a wrench into the gears!

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