Municipal political parties - The Chief Electoral Officer revokes Union Montréal's authorization

November 15, 2013

Quebec City, November 15, 2013 –The Chief Electoral Officer of Québec, Jacques Drouin, has handed down on November 12 a decision to withdraw the authorization of the municipal political party, Union Montréal. The fact that the party did not designate a leader by the deadline stipulated in the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (AERM), and in the manner prescribed by the AERM, is one of the reasons for the decision. It may be recalled that the interim leader of Union Montréal, Richard Deschamps, resigned onMay 9, 2013. The party also failed to provide, by the prescribed deadline, information pertaining to the naming of a second leader following the resignation of Marie Potvin onApril 2, 2013.

The Chief Electoral Officer's authorization is the official act through which a municipal political party can exist, and its withdrawal entails the dissolution and liquidation of the party. In the case of Union Montréal, any persons holding the party's sums and assets will have to remit them to the Chief Electoral Officer. The party will also have to provide a closing financial report, along with an auditor's report. Moreover, a list of Union Montréal's creditors will be sent to the Chief Electoral Officer, who will pay its debts and hand over the surplus funds, if any, to the treasurer of the City ofMontreal.

Some facts to keep in mind

On May 9, a little over five months after having been named the party's interim leader, Richard Deschamps notified the Chief Electoral Officer that he was handing in his resignation. He also submitted a resolution requesting the withdrawal of Union Montréal's authorization. The resolution, however, stipulated that the party should keep certain sums in trust to provide for the party's legal representation before the Charbonneau commission.

In June, the Chief Electoral Officer notified the party that this request to keep some funds following the withdrawal of its authorization was legally inadmissible, the AERM being clear about the  obligation to hand over all of the party's sums and assets once authorization is withdrawn.

Consequently, the party still being authorized, it was necessary to appoint a new leader as well as a second leader to replace the officers who resigned. The Chief Electoral Officer put the party on notice to do so bySeptember 23, 2013. On September 24, the party still had not regularized its situation.

Using the powers conferred upon him by the AERM, the Chief Electoral Officer then advised the party and the general public of his intention to withdraw Union Montreal's authorization. He invited those concerned to submit remarks and arguments regarding the matter. Union Montréal's attorney was the only interested party to do so. After reviewing them, the Chief Electoral Officer handed down the decision, which is made public today.  

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Categories : Municipal, Municipal financing, Authorized political parties, DGE