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Liberals ask Chrétien to delay financing Bill

Party may not be able to implement the PM's proposed legislation


Anne Dawson
29 April 2003


TORONTO - The Liberal Party of Canada has asked the government to delay its controversial political financing law until all federal parties have had time to analyze its financial impact.

The Liberal party's national executive voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion at a meeting on Saturday that warned without an adequate examination of the bill, the party would not support it.

This puts the Prime Minister in the unique situation of pushing for a law that his own party opposes.

Akaash Maharaj, the national policy chairman who proposed the motion, questioned the need to push the bill through Parliament quickly.

"Across the party ... there is very, very substantial support for this bill, but the concern is quite simply that it is being pursued with such unseemly haste, that this risks undoing the good the Bill wishes to achieve. It is my conviction that it is more important that we do this well than that we do this quickly."

Another motion adopted by party brass, this one written by Jacques Saada, a Quebec MP, calls for the Quebec wing of the party to get a 50% share of the $1.50 per vote allotted to all federal political parties under the bill. The proposal included a provision for similar cost-sharing arrangements for all the provincial and territorial wings of the party.

A letter from Martin Cauchon, the Justice Minister, presented to the executive said Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister, supports the cost-sharing proposal.

The executive ultimately endorsed the proposal on Saturday and set up a committee to begin negotiations with the provincial and territorial wings of the party.

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