The Act respecting political party leadership campaigns, adopted by the National Assembly in December 2011, stipulates that leadership races of political parties are subject to a legal framework. Accordingly, there are rules for candidates concerning the financing and auditing of campaign expenses. These rules are now included in the Election Act (EA).
The main objective of these new provisions is to make leadership races more transparent. To this end, information concerning contributions and contributors is made available on our website, and candidates' expenses are recorded in reports that are disclosed to the general public.
Infractions are outlined and fines provided for when the rules are not followed.
Only an elector residing in the municipality may make a contribution for the benefit of one or more of the candidates in a party leadership race. The contribution made by the elector must be accompanied by a contribution receipt and be made from his own assets, voluntarily, without compensation or for a consideration, and involve no form of reimbursement.
The maximum allowable amount is $500 per elector during the same leadership race. Contributions of more than $50 must be paid by cheque or other payment order made payable to the candidate.
Furthermore, when an elector makes a contribution to a leadership race campaign, it is a contribution to a candidate, not to the party. This contribution, therefore, has no impact on the annual amount of $100 that an elector may donate to the party during the calendar year.
No later than five days after receiving a contribution, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, we will post on our website the contributor's name, the city in which he resides, the residential postal code, the contribution amount and the name of the candidate for whom the contribution was made.
A financial representative may contract a loan from a financial institution or from an elector to cover campaign expenses. To do so requires prior written authorization by the candidate for the loan in question.
Only an elector may stand surety for the loan.
The deed of loan or the suretyship must include a declaration by the elector that the loan is made or the surety is contracted on his own property, voluntarily, without compensation or consideration, and that it shall not be subject to any refund other than as provided by law.
Campaign expenses for a party leadership campaign are expenses incurred for the purpose of the race, by a candidate's financial representative and the party's official representative.
Under the Election Act, unlike election expenses, there is no ceiling on leadership campaign expenses. The political party may, however, establish an expense ceiling for all of its candidates.
Moreover, leadership campaign expenses are not reimbursed by us, as is currently the case for election expenses.
The financial representative has 12 months following the day of the vote to settle any claims and pay off any loans. We may, however, grant an extension of up to 24 months following the first deadline.
On the expiry of the periods granted to pay off loans and settle debts, any unpaid balance shall be considered a contribution by the candidate to his own campaign. The candidate also becomes solely responsible for his campaign debts.
Within 90 days following the vote, the financial representatives of the candidates are required to file a campaign revenue and expense report with the official representative of the party. This report must also state contributions they received.
Within 120 days following the vote, the official representative of the party must file a report with us on the expenses arising from the administration of the party leadership race. This report shall include all the reports received by the official representative from the financial representatives. The reports are then made public.
In case of any outstanding debts after the filing of the first report, the candidate’s financial representative must produce an additional report every three months until repayment of the debt or expiry of the time limit.
Any report produced must be signed, as the case may be, by the candidate or the leader of the party and accompanied by a statement from them and their official representative concerning the rules governing election financing and expenses.
Infractions pertaining to political party leadership races are similar to those for regular political party financing.
We may investigate the application of the rules relating to leadership races, on our own initiative or when an individual makes such a request. In the case of infractions resulting in a plea or a conviction, penalties may be imposed, including fines.