News Releases: Commissioner of Canada Elections
Conclusion Reached by the Commissioner of Canada Elections in the Matter of Unpaid Loans and Claims Related to the Liberal Party of Canada's 2006 Leadership Contest
Ottawa, July 30, 2013
- On December 3, 2006, a Liberal leadership contest was held that resulted in several contestants being left with substantial unpaid loans and claims. Once the relevant extension periods permitted under the Canada Elections Act for repayment of outstanding loans and claims had expired and the required audits were completed, the Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, referred the matter to the Commissioner of Canada Elections, Yves Côté. The Commissioner is the independent officer appointed under section 509 of the Canada Elections Act whose duty is to ensure that the Act is complied with and enforced.
- After having thoroughly reviewed the matter in light of the relevant provisions of the Canada Elections Act, and following extensive consultations with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner has concluded that the Act, as currently drafted, lacks sufficient clarity to support enforcement action in the criminal courts with respect to loans or claims that remain unpaid following the expiry of an extension. Therefore, no enforcement action can be taken against the leadership contestants in relation to their unpaid debts.
- The Commissioner has advised the leadership contestants of his conclusion in this matter. He has also conveyed the results of his review to the Chief Electoral Officer.
"Despite the difficulties in enforcing the Act, I believe it is clear that Parliament intended that leadership contestants act diligently to repay their campaign expenses," said Mr. Côté. "To respect the spirit of the legislation and to ensure the fairness, accountability and transparency that Canadians expect and deserve in all aspects of our electoral process, I strongly encourage the contestants involved to make every effort to raise funds through individual contributions, repay all outstanding debts and report all transactions to Elections Canada."
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