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Justin Trudeau takes Jason Kenney to task for alleged abuse of ministerial office

Posted on March 25, 2011

Jane Taber

Globe and Mail Update
Posted on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 1:38PM EST

Justin Trudeau wants Elections Canada to investigate Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, alleging he misused ministerial powers and resources in spearheading a partisan campaign aimed at winning over ethnic Canadians to the Conservatives.

“It’s actually wrong what he’s doing. It’s so egregiously evident that there is certainly enough substance to go after [him] under the Elections Act,” Mr. Trudeau, the Liberal immigration critic, told The Globe Tuesday.

Read the Tory ethnic-outreach strategy

The Liberals released the letter Mr. Trudeau sent to Elections Canada commissioner William Corbett. In it, the Montreal MP argues that “Mr. Kenney has been caught in a conflict of interest between his responsibilities as Immigration Minister and using his office resources to win Conservative votes from what he calls ‘very ethnic’ Canadians.”

The fundraising appeal was accompanied by a presentation “using data and statistics which may have been generated by Mr. Kenney’s department,” Mr. Trudeau writes.

“If that was in fact the case, the use of Government of Canada data in order to target the votes of certain segments of the population is another abuse of government resources for partisan purposes, and would represent a substantial in-kind donation from the government to the Conservative Party.”

Mr. Trudeau told The Globe there has never been such a “concerted, directed and engaged and strategic attempt to go and pick up votes using a minister’s powers.” He said the fact that Mr. Kenney is Immigration Minister adds another layer of concern.

“These are citizens who are fleeing these kinds of regimes around the world and to come here and to see these blended in such a way, this responsibility as a minister of crown versus hyper-partisan political activist, you know what that’s against the rules of our democracy,” Mr. Trudeau said.

Mr. Kenney has been under fire since one of his aides sent out a Tory fundraising appeal on parliamentary letterhead. The minister has apologized for the mistake and the aide has resigned.

“It is obviously completely inappropriate to use government resources to raise funds for any political party,” he told the Commons Monday. “That is why I accepted responsibility as soon as I learned of this administrative mistake by my office.”

But that’s not enough for Mr. Trudeau. His letter concludes: “As these diversions of government resources could be construed as non-monetary donations to the Conservative Party of Canada, I would ask that you gather all the facts and determine if what has transpired is a breach under the Elections Canada Act.”

Louis-Alexandre Lanthier

Adjoint exécutif/Executive Assistant

Bureau de/Office of Justin P. J. Trudeau

Député/MP – Papineau

Chambre des communes/House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A4

trudeaj0@parl.gc.ca

613-995-8872

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