Legislation adopted by the National Assembly in December 2011 stipulates that leadership races of political parties are subject to a legal framework. As such, candidates must respect rules concerning the financing and auditing of campaign expenses that are now included in the Election Act (EA) and in the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (AERM).
The main objective of the Act is to make leadership races more transparent. Throughout a leadership campaign, information concerning contributions and contributors is available on the Chief Electoral Officer's website. Candidates' expenses are recorded in reports that are disclosed to the general public.
The Act outlines offences and provides for substantial fines in cases where the rules are not respected.
The allowable maximum contribution is $500 per elector during the same leadership campaign. An elector's contribution must be made "out of the elector's own property, voluntarily, without compensation and for no consideration, and cannot be reimbursed in any way."
An elector contributing financially to a leadership campaign may make another maximum contribution of $100 to a political party during the calendar year during which the leadership race is held.
Expenses for a party leadership campaign are expenses incurred for purposes of this campaign by the candidate's financial representative and the party's official representative.
Exceptions concerning campaign expenses as so defined are the same as those that apply to election expenses (section 404 of the EA).
Only the candidate's financial representative, or in certain cases the party's official representative, may authorize campaign expenses.
Unlike election expenses, there is no ceiling for campaign expenses. The political party may, however, establish an expense ceiling for all of its candidates.
The Chief Electoral Officer will not provide a partial reimbursement of campaign expenses, as opposed to the current practice as regards election expenses.