Retired general speaks of 'partisan attack' at Liberal party convention
Published Friday, February 21, 2014 2:12PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 21, 2014 5:34PM EST
Retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie suspects the federal Conservative Party must be angry with him.
The retired general told Liberal Party faithful at the party’s policy convention Friday that he had conversations with “several political parties” after he retired from the Canadian Forces about serving in politics. Last year, he said he decided to serve the Liberal Party.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but one of the other political parties doesn’t seem to be taking this too well,” Leslie said.
“I want to tell them, ‘Look it wasn’t you; it was me.’ But after this last week, let’s be honest: it was really them,” Leslie said to cheers from those on the convention floor.
The remarks appear to be an oblique reference to what Leslie has termed as a “smear campaign” by the Conservatives over Leslie’s moving expenses after his retirement.
Documents obtained by CTV News this month revealed that in 2012, Leslie claimed more than $72,000 in moving expenses when he moved into a new home just four minutes’ drive from his previous address in Ottawa.
Leslie has defended the expenses, saying the Canadian Forces Integrated Relocation Program pays for the moves of thousands of veterans, regardless of their ranks, or how far they move.
Minister of National Defence Rob Nicholson has said he will be asking the Department of National Defence to review the expenses.
Leslie said Friday he welcomes that review, but suggested it’s unlikely to find any wrongdoing..
“It’s not going to work out. This was a partisan attack designed to make people like me and like you from joining Justin’s team because certain people are frightened of the spirit of optimism, hard work and hope that he represents,” Leslie said.
While Leslie did not make a formal announcement Friday about whether he will running for a Liberal nomination, he said he fully supports Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and believes in him.
“What I learned and what we all know is that when – because it’s not if, but when – the Conservatives launch other and more personal attacks against any of us, Justin will have your back. I will have your back. The Liberal Party will have your back,” he said.