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 9, 2018, the Commissioner of Canada Elections entered into a compliance agreement with Ms. Sarah Jordison, pursuant to section 517 of the Canada Elections Act. The text of the compliance agreement is set out in full below.
May 15, 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 Sarah Jordison (the Contracting Party) enter into this agreement aimed at ensuring compliance with the Act.
The relevant provisions of the Act are paragraph 368(1)(a) and subsection 477.47(1), as well as paragraphs 497(1)(e), 497(2)(e) and 497.4(2)(b), which make it an offence, respectively, to circumvent the prohibition against a person or entity other than a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada making a political contribution under the Act, and for anyone other than the official agent of a candidate accepting a contribution on behalf of the candidate's campaign.
Statements by the Contracting Party
For the purpose of this compliance agreement, the Contracting Party acknowledges the following:
- The Contracting Party was the campaign manager for the campaign of Ms. Emilie Taman, the candidate of the New Democratic Party of Canada for the purposes of the by-election, held on April 3, 2017, in the electoral district of Ottawa—Vanier.
- During the election period of the by-election, Mr. Réal Lavergne, Vice-President of the National Capital Region Chapter of Fair Vote Canada (the NCR Chapter-FVC), requested and obtained assistance from the campaign for the production and distribution of a pamphlet constituting election advertising. Indeed, the pamphlet opposed the government's position on electoral reform and encouraged electors to vote for the candidate of the New Democratic Party or of the Green Party during the by-election.
- Prior to printing the pamphlet, the NCR Chapter-FVC submitted an initial draft to the Contracting Party for comments. The Contracting Party suggested that the draft pamphlet was too wordy, and that it should be reduced by 25%. The pamphlet was modified before it was printed to reflect the Contracting Party's comments.
- Subsequently, at the request of the NCR Chapter-FVC, the Contracting Party provided it with guidance concerning the polling divisions within the electoral district where she believed the pamphlet would cause the least harm. The campaign then provided copies of maps of these polling divisions to the NCR Chapter-FVC.
- As such, the NCR Chapter-FVC produced and distributed the pamphlet after having received comments, advice and copies of maps of polling divisions from the campaign and the Contracting Party.
- By participating in the production and distribution of the pamphlet in the manner described above, the Contracting Party in effect accepted a non-monetary contribution from NCR Chapter-FVC on behalf of the campaign, since the pamphlet promoted the election of the candidate for whom she acted as campaign manager.
- The cost incurred by NCR Chapter-FVC for the production of the pamphlet was $2,000. This represents the total value of the non-monetary contribution made to the Taman campaign, since the subsequent distribution of the pamphlet by volunteers meant that no additional cost was incurred to distribute the pamphlet.
- Since the Contracting Party was not the official agent of the Taman campaign, she was prohibited by the Act from accepting any contribution on behalf of the campaign.
- Moreover, NCR Chapter-FVC, as an entity, was prohibited from making a contribution to the campaign, since the Act only allows an individual who is either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada to make a political contribution. By accepting the contribution on behalf of the campaign, the Contracting Party circumvented the prohibition against an entity making a political contribution.
- The Contracting Party acknowledges and accepts her responsibility for these acts.
- The Contracting Party understands that acknowledgement of non-compliance does not constitute a guilty plea in the criminal sense and that no record of conviction is created as a result of admitting responsibility for acts that could constitute an offence under the Act.
- The Contracting Party acknowledges that the Commissioner has advised her of her right to be represented by counsel and that she has had the opportunity to obtain counsel.
Factors considered by the Commissioner
In entering into this compliance agreement, the Commissioner took into account the 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. In particular, the Commissioner took into account the following:
- The Contracting Party participated promptly and fully in the Commissioner's investigation; and
- The Taman campaign has paid the Receiver General the amount of $2,000, which is the value of the illegal contribution that was made to the campaign by the NCR Chapter‑FVC, thereby removing from the political financing system an amount equal to the value of the illegal non-monetary contribution.
The Contracting Party agrees to respect the relevant provisions of the Act in the future.
The Contracting Party consents to the publication of this compliance agreement in the Canada Gazette and on the Commissioner's website.
Pursuant to subsection 517(8) of the Act, the Commissioner and the Contracting Party recognize that once this compliance 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 the terms of the compliance agreement, and in any event, the Director of Public Prosecutions cannot institute such a prosecution unless non-compliance is established.
Signed by the Contracting Party, in the City of Toronto, in the Province of Ontario, this 9th day of May, 2018.
Signed by the Commissioner of Canada Elections, in the City of Gatineau, in the Province of Quebec, this 9th day of May, 2018
Yves Côté, QC
Commissioner of Canada Elections