November 3, 2013 municipal general elections - Authorization is required before soliciting contributions or incurring expenses

May 24, 2013

Quebec City, May 24, 2013 – In preparation for the municipal elections that will be held on November 3, 2013, Jacques Drouin, Chief Electoral Officer of Québec, would like to reiterate that, in accordance with the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (AERM), authorization is required before contributions can be solicited or expenses incurred to promote a candidate or a political option. Parties that are as yet unauthorized and all persons intending to run as candidates who have yet to obtain the Chief Electoral Officer’s authorization must therefore comply with the Act before incurring expenses for purposes of promotion. These are not “election expenses” as such since the election period only begins on September 20, 2013. But the Act clearly stipulates that authorization is required before contributions can be solicited or other types of expenses incurred.  

Moreover, it is possible for electors wishing to run as independent candidates to obtain authorization from the returning officer of their municipality, effective immediately. As regards establishing a new political party, it may be advantageous to promptly submit an application for authorization to the Chief Electoral Officer.

Authorization as an independent candidate

Authorization is required for all those wishing to solicit or collect contributions and contract loans in order to finance the activities associated with their election campaign. Authorization is also necessary for those wishing to incur expenses regarding the election, even for candidates paying the expenses themselves. In order to act before the beginning of the election period and to run as an independent candidate, a written application must be submitted to the clerk or the secretary-treasurer of the municipality. The application must include the name, domiciliary address and telephone number of the future candidate, along with the name of the municipality in which the nomination will be filed, and certain information, in particular concerning the appointment of the candidate’s official representative and the signatures of a prescribed number of electors. A form is provided for this purpose.

As it is not necessary to wait until the beginning of the election period in September to complete this formality, independent candidates will have a longer period of time to plan their election campaign.

It should be pointed out that this measure applies to people living in municipalities with a population of 5,000 or more who are qualified electors in the municipality and who undertake to run as an independent candidate in the upcoming municipal elections. A person can run as a candidate in these elections if, in particular, he or she has resided in the municipality for at least 12 months on September 1, 2013.

To the 181 Québec municipalities having a population of 5,000 or more must be added the municipalities of Chertsey, La Pocatière, Rivière-Rouge and Warwick, whose total population is no longer 5,000, but which nevertheless continue to be subject to the financing rules of the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (chapter XIII of the AERM).

Obtaining authorization for a political party for the upcoming municipal elections

In municipalities subject to these rules, it is also possible to obtain authorization for a political party in preparation for the upcoming municipal elections. This authorization enables the party to collect contributions, contract loans and incur expenses to promote the election of its candidates. It may be advantageous to promptly submit an application for authorization to the Chief Electoral Officer due to the fact that certain conditions must be met to grant such authorization and it takes time to process the application. A party cannot incur expenses or collect contributions without the Chief Electoral Officer’s authorization.

Authorization must also be obtained from the Chief Electoral Officer to change the name of a political party. This name change must occur before the election period, and a minimum amount of time is required to process the application.

It should be recalled that in municipalities with a population of less than 5,000 and which are not subject to Chapter XIII of the AERM, it is not possible to create a political party. However, the Act permits the creation, under certain conditions, of a “ticket" recognized by the returning officer.

Anyone wishing to obtain more information on this subject can consult the website of the Chief Electoral Officer at www.electionsquebec.qc.ca or contact the Information Centre:

By telephone:             (418) 528-0422 –Quebec Cityarea

                                   1-888 ELECTION (1-888-353-2846) – outside the Quebec City area

By e-mail:                   info@electionsquebec.qc.ca

 

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Categories : Municipal, Municipal financing, DGE