Québec City, Sept. 19, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Chief Electoral Officer, Ms. Lucie Fiset, would like to remind the public that the rules governing financing and the control of expenses will be applied during the election period that begins today in the 69 Québec school boards, in view of the general elections of November 2, 2014. During the last school general elections, in 2007, candidates filed returns showing total election expenses of $1,045,000, received more than $747,000 in contributions and contracted around $336,000 in loans.
It is the Chief Electoral Officer who is responsible for applying these rules that are outlined in the Act Respecting School Elections (ASE). In this regard, the chief electoral officer has provided training on financing to authorized candidates. The office of the Chief Electoral Officer also has powers to investigate and take legal action that enable it to monitor the application of the rules on financing and take appropriate action if they are not respected.
Contributions by Electors
The Act Respecting School Elections states that candidates may solicit and receive contributions. To do so, they first have to receive an authorization that is granted by the returning officer of their school board.
It is worth noting that only an elector of a school board can contribute to an authorized candidate of the same school board and that companies, unions and association are barred from contributing. Contributions have to be made directly to the authorized candidate or to persons that the candidate designates in writing to do so.
The maximum contribution that can be made by an elector in a calendar year to each of the approved candidates in the same school board is $300. The candidate himself can add an amount of $700 to his own campaign. For every contribution made, the donor has to sign, on the receipt he receives, a declaration stating that the contribution in being made out of the elector's own property, voluntarily, without compensation and for no consideration and that it has not and will not be reimbursed in any way.
The Act defines an "election expense" as the cost of all goods and services used during the election period by candidates to promote their election. These election expenses of authorized candidates are subject to a maximum. For a candidate to the office of school commissioner, he maximum is established from a base amount of $1,890, plus $0.30 per person entered on the list of electors of the electoral division concerned. The election expenses of a candidate for the position of school board Chairman are limited to an amount of $3,780, increased by $0,30 per person registered on the school board electoral list. The candidate may be entitled to an additional amount in some school boards, depending on population density.
Furthermore, within 90 days after polling day, every authorized candidate has to file a return of election expenses and a financial report on the same form to the director general of the school board, outlining their sources of financing and their expenses.
A candidate who is elected or who obtains at least 15% of the votes cast during the election for the position in question is entitled, under certain conditions, to the reimbursement of part of his election expenses by the director general of the school board. Hence, the first $500 is reimbursed at 75% while any extra amount is reimbursed at 50%. However, the reimbursement cannot exceed the amount of debts arising from the candidate's election expenses and the amount of the candidate's personal contribution.
It is worth noting that there are no political parties in school democracy. However, candidates with a common interest may group themselves into a ticket that has to be recognized by the returning officer of the school board. An application to this effect may be filed with the returning officer from today until September 28 2014. The application should be backed by the signatures of at least 10 electors of the school board who support the application.
Unlike a political party, a ticket is recognized only for the general election at hand as well as for any by-election that takes place thereafter until the next general election.
The power to incur expenses, solicit and receive contributions or contract loans for the election is only granted to authorized candidates and not to the recognized ticket.
SOURCE: Directeur général des élections
For further information: Sonia Fontaine, Information Officer, (418) 644-3320 or 1 888 870-3320