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Democracy Watch calls on Commissioner of Canada Elections to investigate Conservative Party and CAPP for possible illegal collusion

Conservatives and CAPP sharing same ad firm, and party leader shared events with CAPP members in spring

Thursday, October 10, 2019

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch released the letter it has sent to Commissioner of Canada Elections Yves Côté calling for an investigation into possible illegal election collusion between the Conservative Party and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).

Set out in the letter to Commissioner Côté is the evidence that raises the question of whether the Conservatives and CAPP have violated the new rule in the Canada Elections Act (subsection 351.01(1)) that prohibits a party and a third party from colluding, including by sharing information, in order to influence the third party’s partisan activities, advertising or surveys during the election campaign period.

According to an article in the Globe and Mail, the advertising firm One Persuasion Inc., co-founded by Hamish Marshall who has been on leave since last June to be the Conservatives campaign manager, is providing services to both the Conservatives and CAPP.

This is the latest in a series of situations that raise questions about collaboration and support between the Conservatives and CAPP. According to another Globe and Mail article, last April CPC Leader Andrew Scheer and Mr. Marshall attended a private meeting with oil-industry executives that included Mr. Marshall speaking on a panel about using third-party interest groups to rally support for the party. Some of the executives at the meeting are members of the Board of Governors of CAPP.

According to a National Observer article, Imperial Oil sponsored a gala dinner event that was held on May 15th in Ottawa and then, due to a “last minute” seating change, Imperial Oil’s CEO Rich Kruger, who is a member of the Board of Governors of CAPP, sat beside Andrew Scheer and lobbied him. And according to another Globe and Mail article, a June 4th fundraising event for the CPC attended by Andrew Scheer was organized by several energy company executives.

“The anti-collusion rules are aimed at ensuring fair and democratic elections, and preventing lobby groups from unethically helping political parties and leaders get elected, and the relationship between the Conservatives and oil and gas companies warrants investigation by the elections commissioner to ensure the rules have not been violated,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch.

Democracy Watch’s position is that, to find a violation of the anti-collusion rule, the Commissioner is not required to find proof that CAPP undertook an activity, advertisement or survey because of the sharing of information with the Conservatives. Instead, all the Commissioner needs to find is evidence that information was shared “in order to influence” CAPP’s activities, ads or surveys.

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Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179   Cell: 416-546-3443
[email protected]

Democracy Watch’s Money in Politics Campaign