The national Liberal Party said yesterday it has no reason to investigate donations to leadership candidate Joe Volpe from current and former executives of a generic drug firm and their relatives, but some Liberal MPs said they have qualms about accepting money from minors.
Mr. Volpe has received donations of $5,400 each from five current and former executives of Apotex Inc. and 15 of their relatives, including some who are under 18.
Companies are banned by law from donating money to a federal leadership campaign and individuals cannot donate more than $5,400. The law also prohibits individuals from donating money on behalf of someone else.
Mr. Volpe came under fire on another front yesterday, when Toronto MP Roy Cullen accused organizers for the former immigration minister of selling 125 party memberships in his riding and taking over his riding association. Mr. Cullen, the MP for Etobicoke North, supports Maurizio Bevilacqua for the leadership.
Mr. Cullen said he was caught off guard when the new members, many from the Sikh community, showed up at his riding's annual general meeting last Thursday and elected a new president and slate of 17 other executive members.
“You could see when they arrived at the meeting it was all pretty well organized,” said Mr. Cullen, who has been an MP since a 1996 by-election and was involved in Liberal politics before then. “But I didn't think for a minute they'd try to take over the association.”
Having one of Toronto's most politically faithful ethnic blocs and the largest generic drug manufacturer in Canada in one's corner makes Volpe a force to be reckoned with. And where better than at an actually competitive leadership race, in which Volpe can play kingmaker--or come up the middle of the pack the way Joe Clark did?
The prospect of Joe Volpe as Liberal leader should have us all very worried. He can't win on debates or ideas, but he can win on sheer political gamesmanship.
Source: Globe and Mail