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Charges laid against former MP’s campaign manager

The campaign manager for former Conservative Labrador MP Peter Penashue will be headed to court on three charges under the Canada Elections Act. 

Reg Bowers (centre) is facing three charges under the Canada Elections Act stemming from his work as a campaign manager for former Labrador MP Peter Penashue in 2011.

The charges against Reg Bowers were filed Wednesday in provincial court in St. John’s.

Commissioner of Canada Elections Yves Côté announced the charges in a news release.

Bowers is a councillor with the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. He told The Labradorian Thursday morning that he plans to remain on council and doesn’t think the charges will affect his position.

Bowers said he needs to talk to his lawyer.

He told The Telegram that the 2011 election, when he worked for Penashue, has been like a “guillotine” hanging over his head, and he hadn’t heard from Elections Canada in more than a year, right up until Wednesday when the charges were filed.

“I can’t say anything about it, because I talked to my lawyer, and she said don’t say anything to anybody until I talk to her first,” Bowers told The Telegram. 

Penashue resigned as an MP in 2013 after breaking campaign spending rules in the 2011 federal election. He ran for re-election but lost to Liberal Yvonne Jones.

As Penashue’s official agent, Bowers had certain legal responsibilities regarding campaign finances and reporting.

Elections Canada alleges Bowers failed to return campaign contributions within 30 days of becoming aware that they were ineligible. 

The second charge says that Bowers provided the chief electoral officer with a document that he knew or ought to have known contained a false or misleading statement.

Thirdly, Bowers is charged with failing to accurately report travel expenses from the 2011 Labrador election campaign.

Speaking to The Telegram, he said he doesn’t know what his plan is yet when it comes to fighting the charges.

“I read them briefly, and the first one, I don’t even understand it,” he said.

Bowers promised he would have more to say once he’s talked to his lawyer.

He’s not pleased to have been charged.

“I don’t feel very good. There’s been a long time (since the election),” he said. 

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