I’m not sure whether Marc Mayrand can’t read or is simply so much of a Liberal hack that he refuses to prosecute Liberals on principle but either way he must go.
Mayrand, who is Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer, was responding to the conclusion of the Commissioner of Canada Elections, strikingly similar to his own, that there is no way to prosecute Liberals who have broken the law.
“The recent conclusion reached by the Commissioner of Canada Elections points to a significant gap in the legislation that allows candidates and leadership contestants to fund their campaigns through loans which they do not repay, thereby defeating the strict limit on contributions set out by the Canada Elections Act. Legislation is urgently needed to provide effective remedies to guard against this practice and to maintain the integrity of our political financing regime.”
For those who forgot that the Liberals held a leadership convention 7 years ago and that some people still have debts related to that, get the background here. After all this time Ken Dryden still owes $225,000 (to himself), Joe Volpe owes $98,700, Hedy Fry $69,000 and Stephane Dion $7,500.
This debt cames in the form of loans which, 18 months after the leadership campaign is over, are supposed to be considered donations if not paid back. Given that no one can donate more than a little over $1,000 per year to a political campaign, these leadership contestants, and those that loaned them the money, are in violation of the law.
Yet despite five years to deal with this, Mayrand says he can’t prosecute because the law is unworkable. Mayrand admits these four are in violation of the law, ”However, the Act, as currently drafted, does not provide a means by which these contestants can be sanctioned or compelled to repay their outstanding debts.”
Let me help him then by actually reading the law. Section 497 (1) (i.4) makes it an offence to circumvent the contributions limit. These four have definitely done that. What is the punishment? See section 500 of the Canada Elections Act.
Marginal note:Punishment — strict liability offences
- 500. (1) Every person who is guilty of an offence under any of subsections 484(1), 486(1), 489(1), 491(1), 492(1), 495(1), 496(1), 497(1) and 499(1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than three months, or to both.
Would following through on this punishment force the delinquents to pay back the money? No. Would it be a proper and symbolic reaction to four candidates breaking the law? Yes.
In fact this would be similar to deal to levy fines against the Conservatives for overspending in 2006, a case Elections Canada prosecuted with vigour.
Speaking of Dean Del Mastro…..
Yes, if you have C next to your name, Elections Canada will spare no expense to find any perceived or real violation of the law. If you are a Liberal, you get a press release saying that nothing can be done.