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 the National Capital Region Chapter of Fair Vote Canada, 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
The relevant provisions of the Act are subsection 363(1), paragraph 368(1)(a) and paragraphs 497(1)(a), 497(2)(a), 497(1)(e) and 497(2)(e), which make it an offence, respectively, for an ineligible contributor to make a contribution under the Act, and for any person or entity to circumvent the prohibition against an ineligible contributor making a contribution under the Act.
Statements by the Contracting Party
For the purpose of this compliance agreement, the Contracting Party acknowledges the following:
- Mr. Réal Lavergne, who was the Vice-President of the National Capital Region Chapter of Fair Vote Canada (the NCR Chapter-FVC) at the moment of the events and is now a member at large of the Executive Committee, is duly authorized to sign this compliance agreement on behalf of the Contracting Party.
- During the election period of the federal by-election held on April 3, 2017, in the electoral district of Ottawa—Vanier, while acting on behalf of the Contracting Party, Mr. Lavergne requested and obtained assistance from the campaign of Ms. Emilie Taman, the New Democratic Party of Canada candidate in the electoral district of Ottawa—Vanier, for the production and distribution of a pamphlet that constituted 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.
- The Contracting Party produced the pamphlet in concert with the campaign manager of Ms. Taman's campaign, Ms. Sarah Jordison. In particular, prior to producing and distributing the pamphlet, the Contracting Party submitted an initial draft of the pamphlet to the campaign manager for comments. The campaign manager 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 campaign manager's comments.
- The Contracting Party also sought and received guidance from the campaign manager on the polling divisions within the electoral district where she felt distribution of the pamphlet would have the greatest impact. The campaign manager then provided copies of maps of these polling divisions to the Contracting Party, with instructions on how to use them as efficiently as possible to avoid canvassing the same household more than once on streets that serve as polling division boundaries.
- As such, the Contracting Party produced and distributed the pamphlet after having received comments, advice and resources from the campaign manager.
- By coordinating the production and the distribution of the pamphlet with the campaign, the Contracting Party did not incur an independent expenditure as a third party, as would have been permitted under the Act. Rather, the Contracting Party provided the pamphlet as a non-monetary contribution to the campaign.
- The cost incurred 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 them.
- As a person or entity other than a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, the Contracting Party was prohibited under the Act from making a contribution to a candidate's campaign. Further, the Contracting Party was prohibited from circumventing or attempting to circumvent this prohibition.
- The Contracting Party acknowledges and accepts its 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 it of its right to be represented by counsel and that it 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 promptly and fully participated in the Commissioner's investigation of this matter;
- The Contracting Party prepared a notice, in both official languages, acceptable to the Commissioner regarding the signing of this compliance agreement for the purpose of publication on its website, as well as a news release in both official languages, acceptable to the Commissioner, containing the said notice; 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.
Undertakings and agreement
As soon as possible after having been advised of the publication of this compliance agreement on the Commissioner's website, the Contracting Party undertakes to publish—for a period of at least 30 days—the above-mentioned notice on the signing of this compliance agreement on the first page of the Fair Vote Canada, National Capital Region website.
The Contracting Party also undertakes to provide to the Commissioner, as soon as possible after the notice has been posted, proof of publication of this notice on its website, and to confirm in writing to the Commissioner at the end of the above-mentioned 30-day period that the notice was kept on the website for the full period required under this compliance agreement.
The Contracting Party also undertakes to send the above-mentioned news release to media outlets on a list approved by the Commissioner, announcing that it has entered into this compliance agreement. The news release is to be issued on the day the Contracting Party has been advised that the compliance agreement has been published on the Commissioner's website. The Contracting Party undertakes to provide the Commissioner with written proof thereof.
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.
The Commissioner agrees that the fulfillment by the Contracting Party of its undertakings in this compliance agreement will constitute compliance with the agreement.
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 duly authorized representative of the Contracting Party, in the City of Ottawa, in the Province of Ontario, this 6th day of March, 2018.
Member at large, Executive Committee
NCR Chapter Fair Vote-Canada
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