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CA questions Martin about campaign financing

OTTAWA - (Web posted April 10, 2002 @ 5:15 p.m.) - Randy White says if Finance Minister Paul Martin refuses to answer Opposition questions about the financing of his unofficial Liberal leadership bid, perhaps his potential challengers will have more luck getting a response. 

The issue of leadership campaign financing began following the minister last month when it was revealed Calgary lawyer Jim Palmer collected money for  Martin, while at the same time working for the Department of Finance.

Canadian Alliance MP Randy White (c) PoliticsWatch Finance Minister Paul Martin (c) PoliticsWatch

"Here's the Finance Minister hiring somebody on contract for the Finance Department and using him as a fund-raiser for his own personal campaign to get elected as leader, or as prime minister in fact," said White, member of Parliament for the British Columbia riding of Langley-Abbotsford.

"I happen to think that's wrong. That's why I brought it up in the first place."

Palmer subsequently resigned from both jobs.

During Wednesday's Question Period, the Canadian Alliance MP asked Martin to table a list of his financial backers.

"Surely the Finance Minister doesn't want accusations of improper use of taxpayer's money hanging around," White said.

Martin has repeatedly defended Palmer and said the matter has been dealt with by Ottawa's Ethics Counsellor Howard Wilson, who was quoted in several media outlets that the situation "came about in all innocence."

Outside the House of Commons, White said accusations that Martin used public money to help raise money for this own leadership campaign will not vanish.

"They (The Liberals) are going to get challenged on this, in any event, through the leadership campaign. The other candidates are sitting there saying: Uh oh, maybe I got a problem too," said White, who claims to have received feedback about his questions from a Grit who is considering mounting a Liberal leadership bid of their own.

"I can assure you one of the potential candidates indicated to me that it was a very good question I was asking. I don't want to say which one...but he thought it was a darn good question."

Read this related PoliticsWatch story
arrow-trans.gif (111 bytes) Backbench Grits want "transparency" in leadership campaign financing
arrow-trans.gif (111 bytes) Leadership financing: Does the public have a right to know?

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