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Here's one from your neck of the woods, Dan

Here's something for Conservative supporters who voted thusly to "clean up politics" to forget the next time we go to the polls: Conservatives are just as dirty as the rest of them. Linked above is the announcement from Newfoundland's Auditor General into the misuse of funds by one Edward J. Byrne, recent Minister of Natural Resources for Newfoundland and Labrador. It seems that the ex-Minister's office has run up excess constituency expense claims totalling $326,642 for the 2003 and 2004 fiscal years. The report also implies (without placing a concrete figure on) excess expenses prior to 2003.

This is the attachment to the Auditor's report, breaking down the payments by cheque.

Cookie jar, meet Mr. Hand.

Well, in all fairness to Danny Williams and the Conservatives, you have to give them credit for even letting the audit go ahead in the first place - the last time the Auditor General tried to probe MHA's finances like this was during Brian Tobin's tenure, and the Liberals' response was to shut down the Auditor General's office. Secondly, let's give both Byrne and Williams credit where it's due - the first thing Ed Byrne did when this went public was tender his resignation from Cabinet at the Premier's request. Contrast that with Paul Martin's response re: Ralph Goodale during the previous Federal election campaign. Finally, Byrne's just the first one to be named, there are at least 3 others - a sitting Liberal, a former Liberal Cabinet Minister, and, to my eternal shame, a New Democrat. So, in the long run, I'd say the Conservatives are going to come out of this pretty well, at the very least they're acting decisively and they're not trying to snowball the investigation.

Agreed, Dan, the Tories are handling this the right way. From what I read over the weekend, the total amounts are on the order of a million beans spread among the various investigations.

If Williams really wanted to play politics, he could kick Byrne right out of caucus. That would put the onus on the other parties to respond in kind.

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