My weekly Law Bytes column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) takes stock of the brewing controversy over Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda's fundraising activities. With the Hill Times running a lead story on her 2005 fundraiser and persistent questions in the House of Commons, it is becoming apparent that this issue is quickly becoming a liability for the Conservative government. While last week's discussion focused on the now-cancelled Oda fundraiser sponsored by a CanWest lobbyist and a 2005 Corus-hosted fundraiser, further investigation into Oda's past campaign financing demonstrates that the close ties between Oda and industry lobbyists may run deeper than even Angus realized.
According to Elections Canada data, Oda held a similar fundraiser in May 2004 – before she was even elected to the House of Commons – that attracted enormous corporate support from the broadcast industry including Alliance Atlantis, Astral, CanWest, and CHUM, as well as from more than a dozen senior executives from major broadcast and cable companies.
Once elected, the support continued.