The proof that the law works, according to ex-CEO

La preuve que la loi fonctionne, selon des ex-DGE

Photo: Christopher Katsarov The canadian Press
Kevin O’leary, who had sought to be elected leader of the conservative Party in 2017, still has two years to repay$ 530,000 to.

The businessman Pierre Karl Péladeau denies the contravention for which he was ejected after you have repaid out of his pocket and his debts accumulated during his run for the leadership. The millionaire Kevin O’leary’s dream of contesting the validity of the federal election Legislation which forbids him to cut his debt of leadership.

These two millionaires, indebted to the political temptation to circumvent the rules on the financing popular reflected a flaw in the system ? Two former directors-general of elections instead believe that they are the evidence of the effectiveness of laws in place.

In Ottawa and Quebec city, the races at the chiefdom must be funded from donations from voters, capped at 1575 $ per year federal and $ 500 per campaign at the provincial level.

A leadership candidate can also contract a loan, but must be reimbursed through individual contributions. At the federal level, a candidate has the right to contribute to his campaign, for an amount of $25,000.

Candidates have three years after the end of a race to repay their debts. The deadline is arriving this spring for Pierre Karl Péladeau, that was still a ball 135 to $ 500. He has reimbursed himself in the sum, which has earned him a fine salt.

Kevin O’leary, who had sought to be elected leader of the conservative Party in 2017, still has two years to repay $ 530,000 to. It boosts imagination for the solicitation of funds : it offers a “barter” of gifts : for each political contribution received, he shall pay an equivalent amount to a fund intended for olympic athletes.

Loopholes closed

As Marc Mayrand, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, two former heads of Elections Canada, reject the thesis that these two cases are proof that the rich can buy a passage into politics.

“At the federal level, the rifts have been sealed,” says Mr. Mayrand. Mr. Kingsley agrees. “There was a hole in the law in 2006, but the government has introduced provisions and this is the reason for which Mr. O’leary has difficulty today. “

After the race the leadership of the liberal of 2006, several candidates were left heavily indebted. Four of them — Ken Dryden (225 000 $), Joe Volpe (97 800 $), Hedy Fry ($69,000) and Stéphane Dion (7500 $) — had still not been paid seven years later.

Mr. Dryden and Mrs. Fry had the money to themselves. After studying the issue, Elections Canada came to the conclusion in 2013 that nothing could be done against them.

“The offences have been clarified in 2014,” says Mr. Mayrand, who adds, however, that they ” have never been tested in court “. He doubted that a judge would accept, as provided for in the act, send a politician in debt three months behind bars.

Perverse effects

The two former DGE believe that making the system even more restrictive, for example limiting access to loans, would have perverse effects on the participation in the political sparring.

“Perhaps we could say that the candidates do not have the right to contract a debt above a certain percentage of the money they have already amassed, speaks of Mr. Kingsley. But those who already do not have beaucoupd’money would still plusbloqués. “

“The rules are strict enough. I don’t think that we should go further, because we limit participation, ” added Mr. Mayrand.

Reduce costs

The federal government, the loans can only be contracted from a financial institution. If a guarantee is required, it must be provided by as many voters as necessary in order that the amount of their contribution limit for the respective (1575 $) totals the amount of the loan.

A loan of 1.6 million would require such an endorsement to a thousand donors.

“The only solution I see is to reduce the cost of the races “, concludes Mr. Mayrand, who admits in the same breath that the contest electoral expensive in Canada because of the extent of the territory.

In Quebec and in Ottawa, the expenditure ceilings of the races in leadership are established by the parties and not by the director general of elections. What are these limits, by the end of the runway, which ensure the fairness of the process, said Mr. Kingsley. “This is not a level playing field, it is a level playing ceiling ! “

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