Commissioner Of Canada Elections
Canada Elections Act
This notice is published by the Commissioner of Canada Elections, pursuant to section 521 of the Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9.
On May 3, 2018, the Commissioner of Canada Elections entered into a compliance agreement with Mr. Thomas D. (Daniel) Ryder, pursuant to section 517 of the Canada Elections Act. The text of the compliance agreement is set out in full below.
May 4, 2018
Yves Côté, QC
Commissioner of Canada Elections
Pursuant to section 517 of the Canada Elections Act (the Act), the Commissioner of Canada Elections (the Commissioner) and Mr. Thomas D. (Daniel) Ryder (the Contracting Party) enter into this agreement aimed at ensuring compliance with the Act.
The relevant provisions of the Act are paragraphs 497(1)(a) and (2)(a), which make it an offence to contravene subsection 363(1) of the Act by making a contribution to a candidate while ineligible to do so.
Statements by the Contracting Party
For the purpose of this compliance agreement, the Contracting Party acknowledges the following:
- The Contracting Party was the Official Agent for Mr. Gary Adams, Green Party of Canada candidate in Kelowna—Lake Country (the Green Party candidate), for the purposes of the 42nd federal general election, and as such, was responsible for administering the candidate's financial transactions for his electoral campaign.
- The writs for that general election were issued on August 2, 2015, with polling day to be held on October 19, 2015.
- Prior to the issuing of the writs for that general election, the Contracting Party and then-prospective candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in the electoral district of Kelowna—Lake Country, Mr. Stephen Fuhr, discussed the concept of Mr. Fuhr's campaign and the Green Party candidate's campaign being conducted cooperatively. Campaign matters including the environment and climate change were considered by the Contracting Party, Mr. Gary Adams and Mr. Fuhr and after pursuing several options, it was eventually agreed that during the campaign and, if elected to Parliament, Mr. Fuhr would familiarize himself with and promote Green Party principles and key parts of the Green Party platform to the extent they were not inconsistent with his own party's principles, and Mr. Adams would withdraw from the election prior to finalization of the ballot.
- This was intended to encourage supporters of the Green Party of Canada to better promote Green Party policy by voting for the Liberal Party candidate in that electoral district, and attempt to consolidate the votes against the candidate of the Conservative Party of Canada.
- On July 16, 2015, the Kelowna—Lake Country Federal Green Party Association convened a nomination meeting and Annual General Meeting. At the nomination meeting, Mr. Adams was chosen in a secret ballot by the members present to be the Green Party candidate for Kelowna—Lake Country in the 2015 general election. He was elected on a platform of cooperation, which included the concept of withdrawal. Information about this platform was distributed to all members of the Kelowna—Lake Country Federal Green Party Association both prior to and at the nomination meeting.
- On September 4, 2015, Green Party of Canada election signs were ordered by the spouse of the Contracting Party in her capacity as Chief Executive Officer of the Kelowna—Lake Country Federal Green Party Association.
- On September 11, 2015, the returning officer for the Kelowna—Lake Country electoral district confirmed Gary Adams as the Green Party candidate in that electoral district. The Green Party endorsed Adams' nomination in full knowledge of the cooperative effort with the Liberal Party candidate, including Adams' intention to withdraw from the campaign.
- The election signs ordered on September 4, 2015, were picked up on September 11, 2015, and were paid for by way of a Gary Adams Green Party campaign cheque dated September 15, 2015, in the amount of $722.40.
- On September 14, 2015, the Contracting Party contributed an amount of $800 to the Green Party candidate's campaign. This was the only contribution made to the campaign.
- On September 15, 2015, Mr. Adams withdrew as the Kelowna—Lake Country Green Party candidate and volunteered to support the Liberal Party candidate in the same electoral district. His withdrawal had the effect of removing his name from the ballot.
- Around this time, the Contracting Party attempted to ensure compliance with the Act by consulting directly with Elections Canada on generic Green Party signs continuing to be displayed after the Green Party candidate's withdrawal. Elections Canada informed the Contracting Party and other members of the Kelowna—Lake Country Federal Green Party Association that this was permitted under the Act.
- Upon the withdrawal of the Green Party candidate, the Contracting Party and other Green volunteers used some Green Party election signs in order to promote the Green Party platform and the election of the cooperating Liberal Party candidate in Kelowna–Lake Country. The Liberal Party candidate's campaign allowed these Green Party of Canada election signs to be displayed at several public campaign events of roadside sign waving.
- This was intended to encourage Green Party supporters in Kelowna—Lake Country and others to cast their vote for the Liberal Party candidate as the best way to promote Green Party policy, and to enhance the likelihood of supporters of the Green Party casting a vote for the Liberal Party candidate when provided with a ballot that did not contain a Green Party candidate as an option.
- The Commissioner asserts that the use of these election signs belonging to the Green Party candidate's campaign to promote the Liberal Party candidate constituted an ineligible non-monetary contribution to the Liberal Party candidate's campaign. The Act does not allow for monetary or non-monetary contributions to be made between candidates' campaigns. At the time of the use of the signs, the Contracting Party was not aware of Elections Canada's and the Commissioner's longstanding position that such use constituted an offence under the Act. As such, any contravention of the Act was unintentional. The Contracting Party disagrees with the application of the relevant provision to the fact situation at hand.
- On August 23, 2017, the official agent of the Liberal Party candidate, upon being informed that the campaign had accepted a contribution from an ineligible source, paid an amount equal to the commercial value of all of the Adams campaign election signs to the Receiver General, as required by section 372 of the Act.
Factors considered by the Commissioner
In entering into this compliance agreement, the Commissioner took into account factors set out in paragraph 32 of the Compliance and Enforcement Policy of the Commissioner of Canada Elections, which is available on the Commissioner's website, including the following:
- that the contravention appears to have been unintentional; and,
- that an amount equal to or exceeding the value of the non-monetary contribution was paid to the Receiver General of Canada by the Liberal party candidate's campaign, thereby reducing the effect of the non-monetary contribution on the political financing regime put in place by Parliament.
Undertakings and agreement
The Contracting Party agrees to exercise due caution in order to ensure compliance with the relevant provisions of the Act in the future. In particular, the Contracting Party agrees, if occupying the role of Official Agent for a candidate who withdraws, to caution against the use of signs featuring the party logo of the withdrawing candidate at the campaign event of another political party.
The Contracting Party consents to the publication of this agreement in the Canada Gazette and on the Commissioner's website.
The Commissioner agrees that the fulfillment by the Contracting Party of the undertakings in this agreement will constitute compliance with the agreement.
Under subsection 517(5), the compliance agreement and the statements it contains are not admissible in evidence against the Contracting Party in any civil or criminal proceedings.
Pursuant to subsection 517(8) of the Act, the Commissioner and the Contracting Party recognize that once this agreement is entered into, the Commissioner will be prevented from referring this matter for prosecution to the Director of Public Prosecutions unless there is non-compliance with an undertaking of the compliance agreement, and in any event, the Director of Public Prosecutions cannot institute such a prosecution unless non-compliance with the agreement's undertakings has been established.
Signed by the Contracting Party, in the City of Kelowna, in the Province of British Columbia, this 2nd day of May, 2018.
Thomas D. (Dan) Ryder
Signed by the Commissioner of Canada Elections, in the City of Gatineau, in the Province of Quebec, this 3rd day of May, 2018.
Yves Côté, QC
Commissioner of Canada Elections