The Huffington Post has learned the PMO assembled a group of young Conservative interns to make signs advertising key Conservative talking points and protest behind Trudeau.
Liberal researchers and journalists were able to identify several of the protesters.
- Summer internship since May
- McMaster University
- Secretary Treasurer for Ontario Progressive Conservative Youth Association
Taxpayers are footing the bill for some of their salaries. According to stats from April, the CRG receives $2,484,368 in public funding annually for salaries, contracts and office supplies.
- Finished Political Science Degree at Concordia University
- President of Conservative Club at Concordia
- Conservative Documents: Party staffer responsible for political operations in Ontario
- Conservative HQ in Ottawa
- In charge of political operations in Western Canada and Northern Territories.
- Staffer 2008-2011
- Works for Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Rob Milligan
- "Communications professional looking for new opportunities"
- President of Conservative club at Universite de Montreal
- Internship with Conservative Research Group this summer (Government caucus research bureau)
Despite receiving taxpayer money, MP-set rules state “National Caucus expenses are not subject to public disclosure.” The Conservatives aren't the only party to recieve such funding, the NDP got $2,363,187 and the Liberals got $1,177,425. The fund is intent to help MPs in parliamentary activities, “wherever performed and whether or not performed in a partisan manner.”
The money, however, is not supposed to be used on “activities related to the administration, organization and internal communications of a political party” or, in the context of an election campaign, “to support or oppose a political party or an individual candidate.”
Conservative interns are paid $1,700 per month and are given experience in HQ, MP's offices, and the research bureau.
Conservative party spokesman Fred DeLorey said, “Interns who spend the summer in ministers’ offices don't engage in partisan political activities; those who work for the Conservative party or CRG do.”
Parliament rules state MPs are allowed to conduct their duties without “obstruction, interference, intimidation and molestation” and only hold ground inside the building and during travel to and from the chamber. It isn't clear whether the fake protest may have broken such a rule.
Liberal whip spokesman Vince MacNeil asked Parliament Hill's head of security Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers to look into the matter.
“It’s fine to disagree about public policy, but we don’t think mounting fake protests of each others’ media availabilities does any good for anyone,” MacNeil said.
The PMO is under scrutiny for the Duffy affair and while Prime Minister Stephen Harper dodges questions about his former chief of staff's payment to disgraced senator Mike Duffy, it appears the only thing the PMO can do is wreak havoc and play dirty politics in a desperate bid to distract the public.
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