Press release No. 3 – By-election of December 5, 2011 in Bonaventure - Political contributions and election expenses: rules to respect

November 4, 2011

 

– Concerning the by-election of December 5, 2011 in the electoral division of Bonaventure, Jacques Drouin, the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec, wishes to remind electors and candidates of the main rules included in the Election Act with respect to the control of election expenses and the soliciting of political contributions. It should be underlined from the outset that the rules concerning election expenses are in force as of now, i.e. the beginning of the electoral period, until the closing of polling stations on December 5, 2011.
 
Election expenses
 
An election expense is the cost of a good or service used during an electoral period for purposes of promoting or opposing a candidate, whether directly or indirectly. During a by-election, political parties are not authorized to incur election expenses, and the equivalent of their expense limit is added to the candidates’ limit. The official agent is the only person empowered to incur or authorize election expenses. The expenses are limited and subject to control.
 
During the current by-election, candidates’ election expenses are limited to $1.88 per elector registered on the list of electors. For the electoral division of Bonaventure, the preliminary expense limit has therefore been set at $55,375.40, based on the number of electors registered on the list of electors when the order instituting the by-election was issued. It should be pointed out that the electoral map used during the last general election has served to provide the number of electors.  
 
Publicity
 
Certain forms of publicity pertaining to the current election are prohibited from now until November 9, 2011 inclusively. The prohibition includes, more specifically, the publication or dissemination of publicity messages by way of print or electronic media, in particular radio, television, newspapers and other periodicals, as well as publicity posters and billboards in spaces rented for this purpose. Electoral publicity disseminated or published in print or electronic media is also prohibited on Election day, i.e. on December 5, 2011.
 
However, this prohibition does not prevent the official agent of a candidate from affixing posters, as of now, along roadways or pedestrian thoroughfares, or from distributing flyers. It should also be underlined that during the electoral period all publicity must be identified, as stipulated in the Election Act.
 
The official agent is the only person who may incur or authorize publicity expenses for the purposes of promoting or opposing the election of a candidate. Consequently, no other person, including legal persons (partnerships, companies, unions, etc.), may incur electoral publicity expenses or any other expense pertaining to the election.
 
Authorization of independent candidates
 
Anyone wishing to participate in the current election as an “independent candidate” must obtain an authorization to do so from the Chief Electoral Officer, even those intending to pay all expenses related to their election themselves. In fact, every independent candidate must be authorized before soliciting or collecting contributions, contracting loans or incurring election expenses. In their application for authorization, independent candidates must designate someone to serve as their official representative and official agent.
 
Political contributions  
 
The electoral period can also be an opportunity for candidates and parties to collect contributions. Every contribution must be made by an individual elector out of his or her own property. These contributions must be made voluntarily, without compensation and for no consideration, and may not be reimbursed by a third party in any way. Consequently, legal persons, i.e. companies, unions, or partnerships of any form, may not contribute to the financing of political parties or authorized independent candidates. Moreover, it is important to highlight the following rules and procedures, which are in force at all times:
 
–                   a contribution may be made only to the Chief Electoral Officer for the benefit of an authorized entity; canvassing may be done only under the supervision of the official representative of a party, a party authority or an authorized independent candidate, or, if applicable, of any other person designated in writing by the official representative for this purpose;
 
–                    the Chief Electoral Officer will then transmit the contribution to the party or the candidate for which or for whom it is intended;
 
 
–                    every contribution must be accompanied by a contribution slip, including, in particular, a declaration signed by the elector;
 
 
–                    a cash contribution of $100 or more must be made by cheque or other order of payment signed by the elector and drawn on his or her account in a financial institution having an office in Québec. A contribution may also be made, in compliance with the directives of the Chief Electoral Officer, by means of a credit card; and
 
 
–                    the total of contributions made by the same elector to each of the political parties and authorized independent candidates may not exceed $1,000 during the same calendar year.
 
 
For more information concerning the new rules governing the financing of parties and candidates, please visit the special information page accessible on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer at http://www.electionsquebec.qc.ca/francais/nouvelles-regles-financement-politique/.
 
The status of private intervenor
 
A private intervenor may incur publicity expenses, the total of which may not exceed $300, from his or her own property, to convey a message that the intervenor intends to put forward during the electoral period. However, the law prohibits the latter from making or incurring expenses jointly with any other person or entity, whether another private intervenor, a political party, a candidate, or otherwise.
 
Although a private intervenor may make his or her views known concerning a matter of public interest, or advocate abstention or the spoiling of ballots, he or she may not directly promote or oppose a candidate or party, or be a member of a party, or act directly on behalf of a candidate or a party.
 
In order to obtain this status, the elector or group representative must receive prior authorization from the returning officer of his or her electoral division. Concerning the by-election of December 5, 2011, the application for authorization must be filed from November 8 to 22, 2011. Forms designed for this purpose are available under the heading “Forms” on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer at www.electionsquebec.qc.ca.
 
Public assemblies
 
A directive governs the holding of public assemblies by non-partisan and partisan organizations during the electoral period. This directive, along with numerous points of information concerning the rules governing financing, is available on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer at www.electionsquebec.qc.ca.
 
 
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Categories : Provincial, By-elections