CBC reports on a compliance agreement entered into on July 22nd by the Green Party of Canada: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/elections-commissioner-green-party-polling-1.3695519
In the compliance agreement the Party acknowledged that:
- deliberate use of unreliable polling data intended for internal use, which use did not meet the informational requirements of the Elections Act—as well as the erroneous presentation of the polling data as being the latest results when subsequent polling data was trending down—was misleading; and
- It constituted an attempt to induce a person to vote or not to vote for a particular candidate using a pretence or contrivance, and as such, an offence under paragraph 482(b) of the Act.
Here is the notice of the compliance agreement from the Commissioner’s website: https://www.cef-cce.gc.ca/content.asp?section=agr&document=jul2116&lang=e
Another reminder of the importance of political parties retaining legal counsel during elections and working closely with them to ensure compliance with the Elections Act!
CBC reports on how executives with seven companies have entered into compliance agreements with the Commissioner of Elections, acknowledging to giving illegal donations to former federal cabinet minister Peter Penashue during the 2011 election campaign: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/companies-admit-illegal-contributions-to-peter-penashue-campaign-1.3158576
According to the report in the agreements the executives have publicly acknowledged having made illegal contributions and promised to abide by the ban on corporate donations in the future.
Elections Nova Scotia has announced that it has entered into a compliance agreement with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (the “NSTU“).
According to the notice of compliance agreement, the NSTU published an advertisement during the election campaign that took a position on a policy with which a registered party was associated. This type of election advertising is known as “issue advertising”.
The NSTU did not register with Elections Nova Scotia as a third party election advertiser, did not indicate on the advertisements that they were authorized by the NSTU, and exceeded the $10,000 expense limit for third party election advertising.
In the compliance agreement the NSTU admitted that as a result it had breached sections 275, 277 and 278 of the Elections Act (Nova Scotia).
This compliance agreement highlights the legal issues that arise when third parties conduct “issue advertising” during an election campaign. Such advertising can cause problems for third parties who are either unaware of the election advertising laws, or believe that such laws do not or will not apply to their advertising campaigns.
Whether an advertisement will be considered issue advertising and caught by election advertising laws is not always clear, and depends in each case on the particular facts of the advertisement and the political realities of the relevant election campaign.
If you are planning on conducting political advertising during a campaign, and especially if you do not intend to register as a third party, it would be prudent to discuss the matter with an experienced election lawyer.