NDP off the hook; cops won’t probe campaign funding allegations
Police will not investigate or lay any charges around inappropriateunion donations to the Nova Scotia NDP because the issue took too longto get into their hands.
Police will not investigate or lay any charges around inappropriate union donations to the Nova Scotia NDP because the issue took too long to get into their hands.
After consulting with prosecutors, Halifax Regional Police determined any charges would fall under the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act.
That act states investigations must begin no more than six months after the alleged event. That deadline has passed, so police said yesterday they had no choice but to shut down the investigation.
Chief electoral officer Christine McCulloch released a statement saying she regrets there cannot be a full police investigation.
“Unfortunately, the possible offence was not discovered until after that time (the deadline) had passed,” McCulloch said in the release.
Last spring eight unions in the Mainland Building and Construction Trades Council each donated the maximum $5,000 to the NDP. It was later discovered the Council was reimbursing the unions for their donations, which contravenes election laws.
The NDP claimed it did not know the donations were inappropriate and McCulloch’s investigation confirmed there was no reason the party should have known. However, the party was fined $10,000 when McCulloch revealed it did not return the money.
Party secretary Ed Wark took the fall for what was called an “error in judgment” and resigned.
The Tories called for a public inquiry yesterday, but Premier Darrell Dexter dismissed that as political posturing. He said the issue had to do with the unions, not his party. He’s not looking into changing the law.
“To what end, I guess, is the question. The chief electoral officer, the RCMP, everyone knows what the deadlines are,” he said.
“I just see no need for it, let me put it that way.”