In a letter posted on his website this afternoon, Labrador MP and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue says he was surprised by “allegations of irregularities” concerning his 2011 election campaign.
CBC News has reported that Penashue’s campaign overspent by thousands of dollars. A further CBC report found evidence that his campaign may have accepted corporate donations from Pennecon Ltd.
“I was very clear during the campaign that we would follow the rules,” Penashue writes in the letter. “I specifically indicated that, in accordance with the law, we could not accept corporate donations. I was not aware of any problems or irregularities during the campaign.
“No one is more surprised than I am at the allegations that have arisen since the campaign. No one is more disappointed.”
Penashue reiterated that a new official agent is in place and working with Elections Canada to correct any mistake that may have been made.
Opposition MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador have called for Penashue to resign, but his letter indicates such thoughts are not on his radar.
“Throughout this difficult time, I remain focused on serving the people of Labrador who asked me to represent them as their Member of Parliament — working on their priorities, such as the Muskrat Falls project, the Canadian Armed Forces presence in Goose Bay, broadband connectivity, infrastructure investments and other initiatives to help our communities.”
Penashue was in Port Hope Simpson earlier today to award Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals.
See related Canadian Press story "Penashue blames agent, says he’s surprised by spending allegations" on The Telegram website.