The National Farmers Union (NFU) registered as a third-party intervener in the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) elections last year.
NFU president Stewart Wells says the five Conservative MPs that wrote to voters in Districts 4, 6, and 8 should do the same.
“Everyone can read the laws and regulations of Canada, even the Conservative MPs,” Wells said. “They just decide not to abide by the laws and regulations.
Wells said the letter from David Anderson, Randy Hoback, Ed Komarnicki, Andrew Scheer and Kevin Sorenson was much the same as the NFU’s, except that it asked voters to elect open-market candidates.
Keystone Agricultural Producers’ president Ian Wishart said he’s also concerned with the MPs’ actions.
“They may not have broken the letter of the law, but there is the spirit of the law and I think they certainly pushed the spirit of the act.”
The CWB election regulations seem clear. Individuals or groups that want to advertise in support of certain CWB candidates are to register as third-party interveners and then report what they spent.
Advertising is broadly defined and includes “any notice… designed for mass distribution…”
There’s no reference to MPs being exempt, although perhaps it’s part of their parliamentary privilege. The Manitoba Co-operator called the MPs last week to find out. None were available for an interview. Only Andrew Scheer’s office followed up with a reply, saying he was out of town.
Wells said the MPs actions fit with the government’s pattern.
Wells also suspects the MPs had illegal access to the CWB voters’ list. The RCMP said earlier this year they were investigating Wells’ complaint. [email protected]