In the midst of this CPC illegal donations dust-up, there's one line that really leaps out at me:
"Some political parties take their delegate fees to a convention as being a donation. My party at the last convention did not," [Treasury Board President John Baird] told the Senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee.
So one has to ask the obvious question: Why not? What the above shows is that Baird can't claim ignorance, can he? It's not like he was completely unaware that delegate fees might be considered a political donation. He openly admits that he knows that other political parties have treated them this way, so how is it that Baird has suddenly decided he doesn't have the same obligation? What does he know that everyone else doesn't?
Perhaps I can use the same defense. Why, sure, I realize that all of my IT consultant colleagues treat their income as taxable. But I've decided not to. Is that a sweet deal or what?
In any event, this is clearly not an issue that hinges on bad advice or an honest mistake. Baird knew that there was a precedent for treating delegate fees as donations, and he explicitly admits that the CPC chose not to follow that precedent. Based only on that, they can't possibly claim ignorance as a defense.
Breathtaking stupidity ... OK, that I might buy. They are Tories after all.