Québec, March 30, 2005 – Mr. Marcel Blanchet, Chief Electoral Officer of Québec, wishes to reiterate that the rules respecting the financing of candidates and the control of election expenses will apply throughout the election period under way for the May 29 by-election in the Grandes-Seigneuries School Board in electoral division no. 5.
It should be noted that persons interested in running for election can submit their candidacy beginning on April 26, 2005. To do so, they will have to complete a nomination paper and give it to the returning officer of the school board not later than May 1, 2005.
Contributions by electors
The rules found in the Act respecting School Elections allow candidates to solicit and collect contributions. To do so, they must first obtain an authorization issued by the returning officer of the school board.
It is important to recall that only an elector of the school board can make a contribution to an authorized candidate and that companies, unions or associations are prohibited from doing so. Contributions must be paid to the authorized candidate or to the persons that he designates in writing for this purpose.
The total contributions made by an elector during a given calendar year cannot exceed the sum of $1,000 to each of the authorized candidates, up to a maximum of $3,000 per elector. For every contribution made, a duly completed receipt must be issued to the contributor.
During the election period, the election expenses of authorized candidates are subject to a ceiling. The Act defines an “election expense” as being notably the cost of all the goods and services used during the election period to promote the election of a candidate. The maximum is established according to a basic amount of $2,700 increased by $0.42 per person registered on the list of electors of the electoral division.
Moreover, authorized candidates must, in the 90 days following polling day, submit to the school board’s general director a return of election expenses and a financial return to report on their sources of financing and the nature of their expenses.
A candidate who is elected or who obtains at least 15% of the valid votes during the election for the position in question is entitled, under certain conditions, to a reimbursement of a portion of his election expenses by the school board’s general director. For the first $500 in expenses, the reimbursement is equal to 75% of these expenses and any excess amount is reimbursed at the rate of 50%. However, the reimbursement cannot exceed the amount of the debts ensuing from his election expenses and the amount of his personal contribution.
It should be noted that if tickets recognized by the returning officer for the purposes of the last general election, they are also recognized for the forthcoming by-election.
The power to spend, solicit and receive contributions or enter into loans for the election is granted exclusively to authorized candidates and not to recognized tickets.
Role of the Chief Electoral Officer
It is the Chief Electoral Officer (DGE) who oversees the application of the rules concerning the financing of candidates and the control of election expenses found in the Act respecting School Elections. While the Chief Electoral Officer does not administer school elections directly, he may, upon request, provide the returning officer with all the assistance that he needs to perform his duties. Similarly, the Chief Electoral Officer has been given powers to make inquiry and to institute legal proceedings.