It’s been more than two years since Tory MP Shelly Glover won her Winnipeg seat in a federal election, but now, questions remain about how much she spent to win it.
Earlier this year, Elections Canada reported errors in Glover and Conservative MP James Bezan reporting of their election spending.
The agency said Glover undervalued permanent election signs so she could spend more money on the campaign in other ways.
They ordered the pair to correct their spending files, which would put them both over the legal spending limits in the Canada Election Act.
Glover initially filed a challenge against the agency, but days later, she agreed to correct her spending statements and at the time told CBC she was working with Elections Canada to resolve the issue.
Despite the controversy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named Glover to his cabinet last week, giving her the title Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. The newly minted minister sat down with CBC reporter Ryan Hicks on Monday to discuss her spending.
“I did nothing wrong with my expense claims and had a minor disagreement with the tabulation,” said Glover. “I’ve re-submitted my expense claims, and it’s behind me.”
But it may not be totally behind her. Though two of her staffers had to return parts of their salary, her revised campaign return still shows she overspent by $2,867. Overspending on campaigns is illegal in Canada and penalties can range from fines up to $5,000 or five years in prison.
Now, Glover wants to turn the attention to how Elections Canada communicates their rules.
She wants the agency to clarify its regulations for candidates and she doesn’t plan on changing her behaviour in the future.
“I’m going to do exactly as I did: report my expense diligently and as understood by the rules in place,” Glover said. “I did nothing wrong.”
Winnipeg Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux said Glover’s situation shows why Elections Canada needs more power to investigate when candidates breach election rules.
He said he wants to see changes “to ensure that when people do break the law there is more of a consequence in a more timely fashion.”
Lamoureux added, “Dealing with things two years after is not timely.”
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