To start with there is the story from Aboriginal Peoples Television Network(ATPN). They broke the story of the many inter-linked business interests of Peter Penashue's family surrounding Muskrat Falls, and senior executives of Pennecon Limited http://aptn.ca/pages/news/2012/11/29/penashue-faces-questions-over-family-business-ties-to-labrador-hydro-project/ . A sort of "common-law" marriage if you will.
Then there is Mr. Reginald Bowers - the "inexperienced but well meaning" campaign manager/business manager of Mr. Penashue's electoral endeavour. Bower may be many things, but inexperienced is not one of them. His CV includes a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a senior accountant for David G Curtis and Co., a comptroller for Woodward Group of Companies, and VP of Finance and Administration for Fahey Group of Companies. Not exactly someone with no ability when it comes to finances if you get my drift. When it comes to connections the Masonic Order is the place to be for many, and Bowers founded the Masonic Lodge #17 in Happy Valley Goose Bay. He was big when it came to the provincial PC's as well. According to his official bio, Bowers has been a director of the Lake Melville area PC Association since the early 1990's. He even pulled off a double term as a director on the Board of the College of the North Atlantic (a plum provincial political appointment), along with Gilbert Bennett of Nalcor Energy.
A quick look at the PC donors to the last provincial campaign in Lake Melville district reveals an almost completely corporate dependent campaign. A number of those donors are people that Bowers would have been involved with in one way or another - including Provincial Airlines. It would seem that the provincial PC machine in Lake Melville decided to get behind Penashue for his bid to go to Ottawa, and everyone fell into line.
Then in October, 2012 the CBC broke the story that Penashue's flights throughout the election had been illegally subsidized by Provincial Airlines. Then, the CBC wrote a story that:
" Six executives of Pennecon made donations to Penashue's 2011 campaign in the riding of Labrador, with the donations arriving just after he had been elected, according to Elections Canada records.
Chairman Ches Penney made a donation of $1,100, the same amount donated by several others at the company. Two donated $550 each. The limit for a personal donation during the 2011 campaign was $1,100."
Remember those late arriving donations.
The Innu Development Limited Corporation, run by Penashue's brother-in-law Paul Rich, chipped in a $25,000.00 interest free loan - which is illegal. In addition,
From the Huffington Post, July 24, 2012:
" Bowers wrote that he checked all expenses with Conservative Party advisers and Elections Canada "and somewhere I got the understanding that all travel within the riding was considered personal expense and not governed by the cap on expenses."
From the CBC, November 29, 2012:
" In a statement, Penashue's office said that his campaign staff had a full understanding of the rules.
"The minister was very clear during his campaign that no corporate donations would be accepted, and that donations to his campaign were to be personal donations made by individuals," the statement said.
Although the story is changing now to one of ignorance of the rules, it is clear from Bower's and Penashue's earlier statements to the press, when the story first broke, that they were both fully aware of the rules, and that corporate donations were not to be accepted. Given that, it is impossible for both to have signed the return not being aware that corporate gifts in kind were illegal and corporate donations were illegal.
It is also apparent that a cover up of those expenses was attempted. In particular, it is now known that a deposit slip from Pennecon was recorded by the campaign in the same amount that its executives were retroactively given receipts for. In other words, it appears the campaign attempted to whitewash the donation by Pennecon by issuing receipts to its executives. It is also worth questioning why Pennecon or its executives did not question receiving receipts for donations they did not make, or made and did not get a receipt for making.
The waters are murky with questions, but one that isn't in doubt is that everybody knew the rules, and some made deliberate attempts to circumvent them. No doubt the effort to get Penashue elected was of paramount concern to some people/corporations, but why? That will come out in the wash as they say, but here is an interesting nugget for you to chew on in the meantime.
IT STARTS LIKE THIS:
Innu SNC Lavalin Inc.
Contact(s): Brian Corbin
1133 Topsoil Road,
Mount Pearl, NL A1N-5G2
Innu partner: INNU DEVELOPMENT LTD. PARTNERSHIP
P/O Box 449,
Sheshatshiu, NL A0P 1M0
- Project management
- Engineering Services
MF 1310 – Muskrat Falls Site Access Review SNC Lavalin February 2011