Thursday, December 08, 2005

Controversies Abound, Part the First

It wouldn't be much of an election campaign without a little controversy, would it? And, everybody gets a bit.

The first, is the apparent influence of American-interest groups in our election. The most prominent of the influence sprayed everywhere is the National Rifle Association [Canoe, McLellan to NRA: Stay clear of Canadian election]:
McLellan was troubled that the NRA, which views gun ownership as a constitutional right, was "working with Conservative candidates" with the goal of influencing electoral outcomes.

But Conservative justice critic Vic Toews called it "absolute fabrication" to suggest the NRA is working with the Conservatives. The Tories have strong policies on cracking down on criminal use of firearms and don't agree with the NRA on fundamental philosophies, he said.
It is illegal for foreign companies, associations, and unions to contribute to candidates in Canadian elections (unless they do business in Canada or in the case of a union, does bargaining rights on behalf of Canadian employees), if I'm reading the section correctly in the Elections Act. So, if the NRA are attempting direct influence on the election by contributing to campaigns, then Mr. Cotler just need drop the hammer. That's obviously not occurring. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Can a Canadian citizen be swayed by one of these organizations and then contribute to candidates that follow the NRA way? Sure. Is that a controversy? Not really. If I'm interested in promoting a gun agenda, I don't think I need the NRA to sway my position to be more gun-oriented.

All that said, it does bother me. I think the NRA has no business up here attempting to influence anyone. And, that's in general for any foreign-based organization or individual.

Tags: , , ,

1 comment:

Ogilvie said...

How do you feel, then, about foreign businesses trying to influence the Canadian government by using Canadian-based lobbyists like, oh, let me see....Earnscliffe Strategy Group or S.A. Murray Consulting Inc? For example, scientists at Health Canada complained they were being pressured by their managers to approve a bovine growth hormone. A Murray Consulting lobbyist for the drug maker, a U.S multi-national, just happened also to be an adviser to Health Canada. I'm not flying any flags on behalf of the NRA, but I'd suggest the work of lobby groups is much more deserving of your concern.