Authorization of the Union Montréal municipal political party - The Chief Electoral Officer of Québec will continue to rigorously apply the law

February 25, 2015

Quebec City, February 20,2015 – The Chief Electoral Officer, Lucie Fiset, has confirmed that the Union Montréal municipal political party has once again been enrolled in the register of authorized political entities (REPAQ). As such, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer is respecting the Superior Court ruling of February 10, 2015 concerning the office’s decision to withdraw the party’s authorization. It will not appeal the ruling, and thus will most notably avoid the costs linked to a continuation of the legal debate. Ms.Fiset also points out that on a certain number of legal questions, the Court provided opinions that confirm her office’s jurisdiction as regards the withdrawal of authorization, along with clarifications for parameters regarding the authorization of municipal political parties.

Union Montréal’s enrolment in REPAQ re-establishes the party with all the rights and obligations it had before the Chief Electoral Officer withdrew its authorization on November 12, 2013. The party must therefore file its financial reports for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years with the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, along with an updated list of 100 members in good standing. These documents will be verified according to the standard procedures applied to any party enrolled in REPAQ.

Ms. Fiset also wishes to make it clear that the office of the Chief Electoral Officer will continue to rigorously apply the rules respecting the authorization of municipal political parties, which are not merely formalities, but rather the basis of the privilege of being an actor of democracy.

A ruling that clarifies the rules concerning the authorization of municipal political parties

In its February 10 decision, the Superior Court clarified how certain provisions of the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities (AERM) can be applied and in so doing confirmed the Chief Electoral Officer’s opinion concerning a certain number of questions.

For instance, Union Montréal’s attorneys argued that once the shortcomings that the office of the Chief Electoral Officer had noted were rectified, the latter no longer had jurisdiction to withdraw authorization as conferred by the AERM. The office of Chief Electoral Officer notified Union Montréal of its intention to withdraw its authorization, a notice of intention that the party’s attorneys claim gave Union Montréal additional time to comply with the law’s requirements. The Superior Court concluded that this notice of intention constitutes “an opportunity for the party to state its case” and does not “represent an extension to rectify alleged shortcomings.”  

Generally speaking, Ms. Fiset notes that from a strictly legal perspective, the Superior Court ruling confirmed that the office of the Chief Electoral Officer had jurisdiction to withdraw the Union Montréal party’s authorization. The court based its decision on whether or not the withdrawal was reasonable, emphasizing that the office did not take sufficient account of the party’s state of disorganization and therefore that its withdrawal of authorization was too harsh. The office of the Chief Electoral Officer has taken note of the ruling with respect to the Union Montréal file and will moreover continue to apply the laws for which it is responsible with all the necessary rigour.

 

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