Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Third party advertiser wrote cheque to Lunn's campaign co-manager

The financial disclosure for Citizens Against Higher Taxes names Conservative cabinet minister Gary Lunn's campaign co-manager as the provider of signs because that's who got the cheque for them.

“The payment went to Byng Giraud,” said Bruce Hallsor, the lawyer and senior Conservative who helped register Citizens Against Higher Taxes. “I felt I should disclose where the cheque went, so I did. We like to do it all by the letter.”

Giraud last week told the Tyee he got the signs from Richmond Plastics for the group. “I picked up some signs for them,” he said. “They just asked me to pick them up, and I said 'sure'.”

The company required payment when Giraud collected the signs, said Hallsor, so Giraud paid for them and got reimbursed by Citizens Against Higher Taxes.

Hallsor said he helped register five groups that participated in the October election as third party advertisers. At the time he was vice president of the Saanich-Gulf Islands electoral district association. He remains its executive in charge of election readiness.

Lunn's campaign, which was in a close race with Liberal Briony Penn, spent close to the legal limit in the riding while the five groups spent another $15,000 to support Lunn. Four of the groups shared a financial agent, as the Tyee first reported on Oct. 24 2008.

The Canada Elections Act says, "A third party shall not circumvent, or attempt to circumvent, a limit set out in section 350 in any manner, including by splitting itself into two or more third parties for the purpose of circumventing the limit or acting in collusion with another third party so that their combined election advertising expenses exceed the limit."

The NDP's MP for Burnaby-Douglas, Bill Siksay, yesterday asked in the House of Commons whether Lunn's campaign used the advertisers to exceed the campaign spending limits set in law.

“We followed the law as far as I'm concerned,” said Hallsor today. “I don't think anybody here broke the law.”

Siksay asked more questions on the subject today, but the speaker ruled him out of order. Following is the draft from Hansard:

Mr. Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State (Sport).    

Four shadowy third party groups bought ads endorsing the minister during the campaign. They had the same financial officer, linking them to each other. They had the same address at the office of a senior Conservative political activist, who is on the minister's riding executive, leaking them to the minister. One group disclosed that it had obtained lawn signs from the minister's campaign manager, linking them to the minister's campaign. These links are too obvious to ignore.

Can the minister explain?

The Speaker: Questions about elections generally are not the administrative responsibility of the government and question period is not intended for that purpose. So I do not think the question that the hon. member posed is in order from what I could hear of it. The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas has a supplementary though if he wishes.

Mr. Bill Siksay: Mr. Speaker, I will try again because it goes to upholding the law that all members of Parliament are required to do.

These are the facts: four unheard of third party groups linked to each other and linked to the minister, one with an explicit link to his campaign manager, advertising spending by the four groups of over $12,000 to endorse the minister's candidacy, spending that if charged to his campaign would put him over the limit.

Does the minister deny these facts? Was this an attempt to circumvent spending--

The Speaker: I do not think that is in order for the minister to answer, nor is the question in order because the question does not concern the administrative responsibilities of the government. That is the administrative responsibility of Elections Canada and the member may want to pose this question to the Chief Electoral Officer in due course.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus