O’Toole attacked for using Parliamentary resources on leadership campaign

Robert Morrissey says he received an email from O’Toole’s personal Parliament Hill email address

OTTAWA — A Liberal MP is calling for an investigation into whether Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole is inappropriately using taxpayer-funded resources on his campaign.

Robert Morrissey says he received an email from O’Toole’s personal Parliament Hill email address on May 12, with the subject line “endorsement,” that thanked him for his support.

It was not Morrissey, however, but Conservative MP Rob Morrison who was about to publicly endorse O’Toole.

The email went on to offer up both O’Toole’s campaign and Parliament Hill office staff to help facilitate, Morrissey said.

Morrissey detailed the allegations and included a copy of an email in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota, who also runs the board of internal economy.

The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the letter.

The board governs MPs and upholds rules and regulations around their conduct, including one that specifically prohibits the use of House of Commons resources in relation to leadership campaigns.

By using his MP email account to discuss his campaign and by linking up his Hill and campaign staff to work on it, O’Toole broke that rule, Morrissey alleges.

“I believe that this use of resources constitutes a violation of the members bylaw,” he wrote.

“I ask that the board investigate any potential violation.”

Morrissey said he’ll also raise his concern with Elections Canada as it could be in violation of campaign finance rules.

O’Toole’s campaign chalked it all up to a mistake.

“An error was inadvertently made sending an email,” campaign spokesperson Melanie Paradis said in an email.

“We always do our best to faithfully follow the letter and spirit of the rules.”

Morrissey, in his letter, pointed out that it was the second time in a week that the O’Toole campaign appeared to be offside.

“This email shows a concerning pattern by the O’Toole campaign,” he wrote.

“Earlier this week, a complaint was filed against Senator Leo Housakos for using his parliamentary account to campaign for Mr. O’Toole.”

Global News reported this week that Housakos had sent an email from his official Senate account using the subject line “CPC Leadership,” endorsing O’Toole and then asking recipients to buy a membership in support of the O’Toole campaign.

A letter of complaint was sent to the Senate equivalent of the House of Commons committee that Morrissey wants to investigate O’Toole.

Housakos also said it was a mistake.

The deadline to purchase a Conservative party membership to vote in the contest was Friday.

All four candidates in the race — O’Toole, his fellow MP Derek Sloan, Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis and former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay — hustled down to the wire Friday night to recruit new support.

In an online seminar with some supporters Friday night, O’Toole was asked why people should vote for him and not MacKay.

Among his answers was that the O’Toole campaign does not make mistakes.

“I’ve had an error-free, strong campaign in every part of the country,” O’Toole said.

“Peter’s campaign has not been the same.”

MacKay’s campaign has attracted a fair share of negative attention for gaffes.

Among them, an email they sent out using the offensive phrase “bathroom bill” to refer to efforts to expand the rights of LGBTQ Canadians.

He also raised eyebrows for letting his staff cut off an interview in the early days of the campaign, and for a pitch that the Conservative leadership race ought not to have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but in fact sped up.

Now that membership sales have closed, the party will work to verify all the newly signed-up members are in fact real people, before they will say how many are eligible to vote in the contest.

Party spokesman Cory Hann said that in the 2017 leadership race, 260,000 members were eligible to vote. About 141,000 people did.

Ballots for this one must be returned by mail by Aug. 21 and a winner will be announced shortly after.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

robbery
UPDATE: Shooting suspect arrested by Wetaskiwin/Camrose RCMP

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey. Photo Submitted
Rimbey hotel gets new lease on life

The Quality Inn & Suites in Rimbey is now open and taking bookings

Leanne Evans, Rimbey Neighbourhood Place Program Coordinator, accepts a donation of $5,000 from Kevin Maxwell manager of Field Support for Telus. (Photo Submitted)
Rimbey Neighbourhood Place making big changes behind the scenes

Rimbey Neighbourhood Place recently recieved a $5,000 donation from Telus

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier tests negative for COVID-19 but will isolate for a week

Kenney said he will isolate until Oct. 29 and, in the meantime, work from home

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

ACC President and CEO Ken Kolby spoke to Ponoka Chamber of Commerce members over Zoom on Oct. 20. (Image: screenshot)
Alberta chambers are ‘411’ to members, government: ACC president

Changes to government supports, second wave and snap election

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Alberta's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday, July 6, 2020. Advisers are reportedly recommending Alberta's kindergarten to Grade 4 arts and social studies curriculum remove all references to residential schools because it's "too sad" for young children. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Advisers suggest Alberta students not learn about residential schools before Grade 4

Documents suggest children younger than Grade 4 are too emotionally vulnerable to learn about residential schools

Most Read