Staff for Labrador MP unaware of planned update on campaign spending

The Canadian Press
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Peter Penashue

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — If embattled federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue planned to update constituents Tuesday about his campaign overspending, it’s news to his Labrador staff.

“I don’t know anything about it,” said Agatha Ryland, an assistant in Penashue’s constituency office in L’Anse au Loup, N.L.

Reached by phone, Ryland said Penashue is travelling the remote Labrador coast handing out several Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals for community service and achievement.

Penashue’s spokesman Cory Hann could not be reached by email or cellphone, and there was no answer at the minister’s Ottawa office.

The Conservative MP for Labrador has blamed rookie mistakes for spending thousands of dollars over his legal limit during the 2011 election. He has been attacked for weeks in the House of Commons, accused of accepting free flights around his large riding along with a questionable donation from executives of a St. John’s construction company.

Last week in Ottawa, Penashue said he would update his constituents on Tuesday before offering any further explanation.

Hann has provided no details of that promised update, but said the minister is not planning to speak with reporters Tuesday.

Penashue’s surprise victory by just 79 votes over Liberal incumbent Todd Russell was the only Conservative win in the province.

Penashue has said he has no plans to step down despite calls from the opposition for a byelection and accusations that he “bought” the election.

The minister has also been under siege for travel expenses and the extent to which he has visited other parts of Canada in his cabinet role.

Public records show 79 per cent of Penashue’s ministerial travel has been in his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, even though he’s the intergovernmental affairs minister responsible for managing federal relations with all provinces and territories.

Organizations: House of Commons

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa, L’Anse au Loup Canada

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Recent comments

  • Peter FromUpAway
    November 14, 2012 - 12:36

    No matter how much one spends on signs, the people decide who to vote for and who they want as an MP. Honestly, a couple of thousand of dollars either way does not influence the vote. All these calls for him to reisgn is just the Liberals (backed by the NDP) thorwing a temper tantrum because they lost.

  • loosing hope
    November 13, 2012 - 14:31

    as a country i believe we are quickly passing third world countries as we race to the bottom. ever since harper was elected each day has become a "sad" day for Canada with little hope in sight. im beginning to think that this govt cannot do anything right. ok so they did get elected, robo calls and voter supression.

  • Darrell
    November 13, 2012 - 12:20

    Its finally (quickly) catching up to Peter. By standing and protesting on the runway in Goose Bay, doesn't make you capable of being an MP.

  • Frank M
    November 13, 2012 - 11:30

    His staff may not know as he has chosen to protect the innocent by not dragging them into this. The election irregularities and spending occurred before many of them were ever hired is my guess. In my view he must resign from cabinet at a minimum.

  • Dan
    November 13, 2012 - 11:30

    I wonder how the people who voted for him feel now!!! He is a rookie and that is how he got caught, he is expendable and will be fodder in the next election if he makes it there! Just say NO to PCs of any stripe!

  • Marty
    November 13, 2012 - 11:14

    Can this get any worse, his own staff don't know what's going on!! Do us all a favour and resign.

  • Jeremiah
    November 13, 2012 - 11:02

    What a joke! If it wasn't so pitiful, it would be funny.