Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tory wants Martin's legal defence fund investigated

  • Print

OTTAWA -- Manitoba NDP MP Pat Martin settled a nearly year-old defamation suit last week, but he is now facing a possible ethics investigation of the defence fund he set up.

Just one week after the final paperwork came through settling the $5-million defamation suit against Martin last year by Racknine Inc., Conservative MP Erin O'Toole wrote a letter to the federal ethics commissioner asking her to investigate whether Martin was violating rules by raising money to fund his defence.

"I have asked for certain fundraising efforts to be examined to ensure the rules to keep corporate and union money out of politics are not being circumvented and the ethics rules are being respected," O'Toole said in his letter to the commissioner, sent Sunday.

Racknine filed the lawsuit last winter after Martin made comments suggesting the company was complicit in a scheme to confuse voters about where to vote during the 2011 federal election with a series of robocalls directing them to phoney polling stations.

Racknine was hired to make the calls, but Elections Canada has stated the firm was not part of the scheme, wasn't aware of the content of the calls and fully co-operated with the investigation.

A public apology was not enough to settle the lawsuit. It was settled for an undisclosed amount last week. Martin said he was sort of relieved but had also been tempted to "see it out to its conclusion."

But the cost of fighting the lawsuit and paying the settlement -- the details cannot be disclosed -- are high and Martin launched a trust fund last June to try raising money to pay the legal bills.

O'Toole is concerned about reports the Pat Martin Legal Defence Fund received a $10,000 donation from a union, and about how the fund is promoted, which O'Toole says mimics political fundraising.

But Martin said Monday the initiative was cleared by Elections Canada, Revenue Canada and the ethics commissioner.

"We had lengthy consultations and opinions from the ethics commissioner, and it was with her co-operation and direction the trust fund was formed," Martin said.

The fund is not eligible for tax receipts, and all donations will be publicly disclosed through the ethics commissioner, Martin said. He said the main concern she had was whether donations would influence his vote at any time, and she warned him if legislation comes up that directly affects a donor, he may have to recuse himself from the vote.

Martin said he isn't involved in the day-to-day operations of the fund, but he believes it has raised around $90,000 at this point. "We're nowhere near what we need," he said. "It's a staggering amount of money, but we're not allowed to divulge that."

Martin said he "fully expected" the Conservatives to make such a claim, though he's confident everything was done properly.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 12, 2013 A5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - A Criminal Mind

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos


Do you plan on attending the Winnipeg Folk Festival this year?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google