Jason Kenney accused of breaking fundraising rules
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is accused of breaking parliamentary rules by using his official MP letterhead to fundraise for a Conservative election campaign aimed at Canada's ethnic communities.
Staff for Kenney accidentally mailed the letter to New Democrat MP Linda Duncan asking for money for a "Conservative Ethnic Paid Media Strategy." It was intended to go to Tory MP John Duncan.
The letter, in Kenney's MP letterhead, says the party is looking for $200,000 in donations from various Conservative riding associations for the campaign.
"Given the current political environment, we hope to have commitments by March 11, 2011," the letter states.
Also attached to the document was the Conservative campaign outline for a spring election, mentioning a $378,000 "pre-writ" ethnic media buy to start on March 15 and run for two weeks.
The budget will be introduced on March 22, and a confidence vote that could trigger an election soon after.
CTV's Richard Madan said the document breaks down the ethnic demographics of various ridings and the Tories plan to target the South Asian community in particular.
"The New Democrats and the Liberals now have (the Conservatives) blueprint," he said.
NDP MP Pat Martin has demanded Kenney's resignation.
"No one should have to tell a senior minister the impropriety of using your own letterhead to fundraise for partisan political purposes," Martin told CTV's Power Play Thursday. "It violates all kinds of rules."
Government House Leader John Baird said the government is investigating.
"Obviously you can't solicit campaign contributions on your MP letterhead," Baird told reporters outside the House of Commons. "We're looking into the matter and we'll report back in short order."
The letter was signed by Kasra Nejatian, director of multicultural affairs in Kenney's office.
A spokesperson for Kenney says the person responsible for the matter has resigned, but did not name the employee.
"The employee responsible for this matter has offered the Minister his resignation and the Minister has accepted it. Minister Kenney has taken responsibility for this and has apologized for his former employee's actions. Using parliamentary or government resources for partisan activities is completely unacceptable," Alykhan Velshi said in an email to CTV.
The Tory document notes there is a growing ethnic population in Canada and "they live where we need to win."
It mentions the ethnic diversity of both Toronto and Vancouver and targets 10 ridings for the Conservatives.
Those ridings are Bramalea-Gore-Malton, Brampton-Springdale, Eglinton-Lawrence, Richmond Hill and York Centre in Ontario; Newton-North Delta, Burnaby-Douglas, and Vancouver South in British Columbia; Mount Royal in Quebec, and Elmwood-Winnipeg in Manitoba.
The document notes the Tories are doing poorly at garnering the South Asian vote around Toronto.
"We are losing," the document says. "(But) we are losing less badly now."