Canada Politics

Conservative candidate Ragavan Paranchothy accused of under-reporting true cost of election ads

Canada Politics

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Gavan Paranchothy

Another Conservative candidate's campaign return is under review by Elections Canada.

According to the Globe and Mail, Ragavan Paranchothy (aka Gavan) — a federal Tory candidate in the 2011 election in Scarborough Southwest — is accused of not fully accounting for radio ads targeting the large Tamil community in his riding.

At the centre of the advertising allegations is Canadian Multicultural Radio, which sits at 101.3 FM in Toronto.

Mr. Paranchothy is the radio station’s director of public relations and finance, and went on leave to campaign in 2011. The station’s former chief financial officer, Jayaraman Vadivelu, now says the station heavily promoted Mr. Paranchothy during the campaign and hid the true cost of advertising.

Mr. Paranchothy’s campaign filed expenses totalling $847.50 for radio ads with CMR – the equivalent of 30 ads at $25, plus tax, for the entire campaign. However, according to Mr. Vadivelu’s records, Mr. Paranchothy’s campaign received at least 141 radio ads worth $2,795 or $3,158.35 with HST.

He didn't win the election but the added cost would have presumably put Paranchothy over his campaign expense limit and in contravention of Elections Canada rules.

Paranchothy didn't respond to an email from Yahoo Canada News but did deny the allegations in an email exchange with the Globe.

[ Related: MP Dean Del Mastro charged with election spending violations, steps down from Tory caucus ]

If the name Paranchothy sounds familiar, that's because he was a controversial figure in the 2011 campaign.

During that election campaign, as explained by Postmedia News, he was dogged by unsubstantiated allegations about being a sympathizer of the Tamil Tigers, a group the Harper Conservatives described as terrorists.

During the course of the campaign, Paranchothy also changed his named from Ragavan to Gavan.

[ More Political Points: Former AFN chief wants the UN to recognize Canada’s treatment of First Nations as genocide ]

The Elections Canada examination of Paranchothy's expenses is just the latest in a series of probes launched by the elections watchdog against Conservative candidates.

Last month, Dean Del Mastro resigned from the Tories after Elections Canada formally laid charges against him — and his financial agent — for contravening the Elections Act during the 2008 federal election campaign. The MP for Peterborough has been charged for inappropriately writing a personal cheque for $21,000 to a campaign service provider and not reporting the expense to Elections Canada. Taking that expense into account, Del Mastro's campaign exceeded the spending limit by approximately $17,000.

In March, then-intergovernmental affairs minister Peter Penashue was forced to resign his seat in parliament for accepting ineligible donations during the 2011 election campaign.

And, in June, Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand asked that Manitoba MPs Shelly Glover and James Bezan be suspended from the House for refusing to correct their campaign returns from the last election. Glover eventually corrected her return while Bezan intends to pursue the matter at the courts, claiming that his dispute is simply a difference of opinion.

All those scandals — alleged or otherwise — are certainly not helping to buoy the Conservative party brand.

(Photo courtesy of Twitter/@gavanp)

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