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  1. Quebec Tories swapped ad expenses, Elections Canada alleges TIM NAUMETZ The Canadian Press July 22, 2008 at 9:26 AM EDT OTTAWA — The Conservative Party shifted thousands of dollars in advertising expenses from two of its top Quebec candidates to other Quebec candidates who had more spending room in their 2006 federal election campaigns, the lawyer for Elections Canada has suggested. A former financial officer for the party confirmed last month in a court examination that expenses incurred by Public Works Minister Christian Paradis and former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier were assigned to other candidates. But former chief financial officer Ann O'Grady said the expenses were “prorated” to the other candidates because the firm that placed the television and radio ads billed Mr. Paradis and Mr. Bernier for higher amounts than their campaign agents originally committed. Elections Canada lawyer Barbara McIsaac probed Ms. O'Grady over records involving an eventual claim for $20,000 in radio and TV advertising by Mr. Paradis and $5,000 in advertising claimed by Mr. Bernier. The financial statements and invoices – filed in a Federal Court case concerning $1.3-million in questionable Conservative ad expenses – also showed that Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis paid a fraction of the ad production costs compared with other Tory candidates. Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis are among 67 Conservative candidates whose advertising expenditures are under investigation by the federal elections commissioner. Agents for some of the candidates took Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand to Federal Court after he refused last year to reimburse the expenditures on grounds that they did not qualify as local candidate expenses. The Commons ethics committee is also conducting an inquiry into the bookkeeping, which Elections Canada alleges allowed the Conservative party to exceed its national campaign spending limit by more than $1-million. The Canada Elections Act prohibits candidates from absorbing or sharing the election expenses of other candidates. NDP MP Pat Martin, a member of the ethics committee, said if the party did shift expenses from Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis to other candidates it would add an entirely new dimension to the controversy. “I can't get (fellow NDP MP) Judy Wasylycia-Leis to put $5,000 of my expenses into her expenses,” Mr. Martin said. “That's absolutely not allowed.” In a sworn cross-examination last month, the transcript of which was subsequently entered in the Federal Court file, Ms. McIsaac pressed Ms. O'Grady about advertising and ad production costs that were transferred from Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis to other candidates. Ms. McIsaac challenged Ms. O'Grady's explanations that the expenditures were reassigned because the candidates had been mistakenly invoiced for more than the amounts their official agents originally committed for the campaign. “I'm going to suggest to you that Mr. Bernier was less than $2,590 from his spending limit and that he couldn't afford to put the additional amount into his return,” Ms. McIsaac said to Ms. O'Grady. “That would be total supposition,” Ms. O'Grady responded. “Who knows what else would have been going on at the time? I can't comment on how Mr. Bernier ran his campaign.” In the case of Mr. Paradis, Ms. O'Grady conceded that the candidate had originally committed his campaign to a media buy totalling $30,000, was eventually invoiced $29,766 and subsequently received a “credit note” of $10,000 that was reallocated to another candidate, Marc Nadeau. “Now, again, the reason for this was that Mr. Paradis had reached his limit with respect to spending as well, is that correct?” Ms. McIsaac asked. “He had to allocate some of his money to Mr. Nadeau, did he not, because he was close to his limit?” “I would not know that,” replied Ms. O'Grady, who replaced former Tory chief financial agent Susan Kehoe several months after the election. Ms. McIsaac also questioned Ms. O'Grady over the fact that Mr. Bernier paid no production costs for his share of the advertising. Mr. Paradis paid only $233.93 for his share, even though Ms. McIsaac said other candidates paid $4,500 each for production costs.
  2. Aeroports de Montreal Releases its Fiscal 2006 Results - Passenger traffic up by 5.0% - Revenues increase by 12.5% - EBITDA rises by 13.0% MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - March 7, 2007) - Aeroports de Montreal today announced its audited consolidated financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006. These results are accompanied by data on passenger traffic and aircraft movements at Montreal-Trudeau and Montreal-Mirabel international airports. Highlights EBITDA (excess of revenues over expenses before interest, income taxes, amortization and share in the net gain of investments at equity value) totalled $117.1 million for the year, an increase of $13.5 million, or 13.0%, over fiscal 2005. During fiscal 2006, the Corporation continued work on its various capital investment programs, mainly at Montreal-Trudeau. Work focused on modernization of the domestic jetty and expansion of the domestic arrivals hall, among other areas. In addition, excavation and foundation work progressed for the future transborder departures area and the hotel. The Corporation invested a total of $83.0 million during fiscal 2006, compared to $192.5 million in 2005. Investments in the airports are financed by cash flows from airport operations, including airport improvement fees ($46.7 million), and by long-term debt ($36.3 million). In early October, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) rendered its decision in the case of the illegal expropriation of Budapest-Ferihegy International Airport on January 1, 2002. The Hungarian government complied with the verdict and paid the agreed amount of $97.7 million Cdn ($83.8 million US). In accordance with existing agreements, Aeroports de Montreal's subsidiary is entitled to 55% of this amount, or $53.7 million Cdn ($46.1 million US). The related accounting gain is reflected in the share in the net gain of investments at equity value, which totals $36.6 million Cdn. Results Consolidated revenues were $285.2 million for fiscal 2006, an increase of $31.8 million, or 12.5%, over the previous year. Aeronautical and commercial revenues were the main contributors to this increase. Operating costs (excluding municipal taxes) were $105.7 million for the year, up $7.6 million or 7.7%, from 2005. This variance is partly due to the normal increase in operating costs following the June 2005 start-up of the new international jetty at Montreal-Trudeau. Municipal taxes were up by 9.6% for the year under review, rising to $34.1 million in fiscal 2006 from $31.1 million in 2005. This increase is attributable to Montreal-Trudeau's higher property valuation following the start-up of the new facilities that are part of the airport expansion program. ADM is the most taxed Canadian airport authority, paying up to four times more per passenger than the other major Canadian airports. Like many other companies, ADM considers EBITDA to be the best indicator for judging the Corporation's ability to meet its financial obligations. EBITDA was $117.1 million for the year under review, against $103.6 million for 2005, an increase of $13.5 million, or 13.0%. Amortization was $72.1 million in 2006, representing an increase of $7.0 million, or 10.8%, over the prior year. This increase is mainly due to the start-up of several new facilities at Montreal-Trudeau, including the international jetty (June 2005), the public international arrivals hall (December 2005) and the new multi-level parking lot (February 2006). Interest on long-term bonds totalled $68.9 million for the period under review, up $18.0 million, or 35.4%, over fiscal 2005. This variance is attributable to a decrease in the amount of capitalized interest on construction in progress, as well as the issuance of a new series of revenue bonds in September 2005. The Corporation reported an excess of revenues over expenses of $19.2 million for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006, compared with a shortfall of $14.2 million for the prior year, an improvement of $33.4 million. This variance is mainly due to the increase in the share of earnings of Aeroports de Montreal's subsidiary (including the accounting gain resulting from the compensation awarded for the expropriation of Budapest-Ferihegy International Airport) and the higher EBITDA, all of which was offset by the increased financing expenses and amortization. Financial highlights: For the year ended December 31: ------------------------------------------------------------------- (in millions of dollars) 2006 2005 Variance (%) ------------------------------------------------------------------- Revenues 285.2 253.4 12.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Operating costs (excluding municipal taxes) 105.7 98.1 7.7 Municipal taxes 34.1 31.1 9.6 Rent paid to Transport Canada 21.8 20.8 4.8 Amortization 72.1 65.1 10.8 Interest on long-term bonds 68.9 50.9 35.4 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Total expenses 302.6 266.0 13.8 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Shortfall of revenues over expenses (before share of investments at equity value) (17.4) (12.6) 38.1 ------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------- Share in the net gain (loss) of investments at equity value 36.6 (1.6) 2,387.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Excess (shortfall) of revenues over expenses 19.2 (14.2) 235.2 ------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------- Cash flows from operating activities (before changes in non-cash working capital items) 46.7 49.4 (5.5) ------------------------------------------------------------------- EBITDA 117.1 103.6 13.0 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Passenger traffic Passenger traffic at Montreal-Trudeau increased by 5.0% in 2006, to a new record of 11.4 million passengers enplaned/deplaned. International traffic showed the greatest increase at 6.9%, compared with 4.7% and 3.2% for the domestic and transborder sectors respectively. Passenger traffic ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- Aeroports de Montreal 2006 2005 Variance (%) ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- January 903,352 895,265 0.9 February 870,153 854,276 1.9 March 997,014 930,222 7.2 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- 1st quarter 2,770,519 2,679,763 3.4 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- April 916,582 860,345 6.5 May 938,606 866,926 8.3 June 999,814 957,146 4.5 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- 2nd quarter 2,855,002 2,684,417 6.4 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- July 1,054,221 1,042,952 1.1 August 1,091,206 1,054,465 3.5 September 976,930 952,257 2.6 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd quarter 3,122,357 3,049,674 2.4 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- October 940,368 905,132 3.9 November 824,452 756,767 8.9 December 921,372 817,025 12.8 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- 4th quarter 2,686,192 2,478,924 8.4 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- Entire year 11,434,070 10,892,778 5.0 ---------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Aeroports de Montreal, preliminary figures Aircraft movements There were a total of 235,393 aircraft movements at Aeroports de Montreal in fiscal 2006, representing a 1.5% increase over 2005. Aircraft movements at Montreal-Trudeau rose by 2.5%, to 213,468, while those at Montreal- Mirabel dropped by 7.3%, to 21,925. Aircraft movements ------------------------------------------------------------------- 2006 2005 Variance (%) ------------------------------------------------------------------- Montreal-Trudeau 213,468 208,342 2.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Montreal-Mirabel 21,925 23,640 (7.3) ------------------------------------------------------------------- Aeroports de Montreal 235,393 231,982 1.5 ------------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Aeroports de Montreal, preliminary figures