Press release no. 3 - June 22, 2009 by-elections - Political contributions and election expenses: there are rules that must be followed



    QUEBEC, May 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Within the context of the upcoming June
22nd by-elections in the electoral divisions of Rivière-du-Loup and
Marguerite-Bourgeoys, Marcel Blanchet, Chief Electoral Officer of Québec,
would like to remind electors and candidates about the main rules found in the
Election Act regarding political contributions and the control of election
expenses. As for the rules concerning election expenses, they apply starting
tomorrow, May 21st, until the close of polling stations on June 22nd of this
year.

    Political contributions

    Only electors have the right to make political contributions out of their
own property. These contributions must be made without consideration or
compensation and must not be reimbursed by a third party. As a result, legal
persons, namely companies, unions and associations of every kind, cannot
contribute to the financing of political parties, MNAs and authorized
independent candidates. Furthermore, it is important to mention that:

    
    - a contribution can only be made to the official representative of a
      party, a party authority, an MNA or an authorized independent candidate
      or, where such is the case, to any other person designated in writing
      by an official representative;

    - every monetary contribution of over $200 must be made by cheque or
      other order of payment signed by the elector and drawn on the elector's
      account in a financial institution having an office in Québec. It may
      also be made in accordance with the directives of the Chief Electoral
      Officer by credit card or bank transfer to an account held by the
      official representative of the authorized entity for which it is
      intended;

    - the total contributions made by the same elector to each of the
      political parties, MNAs and authorized independent candidates cannot
      exceed $3,000 during a given calendar year;

    - for every contribution, the Election Act requires that the person
      authorized to solicit contributions issue a receipt to the elector.
    

    Authorization of independent candidates

    Independent candidates who would like to solicit or collect
contributions, contract loans and incur expenses must first obtain an
authorization from the Chief Electoral Officer. The authorization is required
even when the candidate intends to assume all of the expenses related to his
or her election. In their application for authorization, candidates must
designate a person who will serve as both official agent and official
representative.
    It should be noted that independent candidates who do not wish to collect
contributions or incur expenses do not have to request an authorization from
the Chief Electoral Officer.

    Election Expenses

    The official agent is the only person who may incur or authorize election
expenses. These expenses are limited and are subject to audit.
    During the current by-election, candidates' election expenses are limited
to $1.85 per elector entered on the list of electors. It should be noted that
during a by-election political parties are not authorized to incur election
expenses and that their expense limit is transferred to their candidates. For
the electoral division of Rivière-du-Loup, the limit on elections expenses is
thus set at approximately $62,800, whereas for Marguerite-Bourgeoys, it is
approximately $85,600, with these preliminary figures being based on the
number of electors entered on the lists of electors at the time of the
December 8th general election.

    Advertising

    Certain provisions of the Election Act concern advertising during the
election period.
    Certain types of advertising dealing with this election are banned from
May 21st to May 27th inclusively. This includes the publication or
distribution of advertising messages using print or electronic media as well
as the posting of advertising on spaces rented for this purpose. Election
advertising published or broadcast in print or electronic media outlets is
also forbidden on June 22nd, polling day.
    However, this ban does not prevent the official agent of a party or a
candidate from placing posters along public roads or walkways or from
distributing pamphlets.
    It is also worth recalling that during the election period, all
advertising must be identified in accordance with the Act and that the
official agent is the only person who can incur or authorize advertising (or
other) expenses seeking to promote or oppose the election of a candidate.
    Consequently, every other person, including legal persons (associations,
companies, unions or other organizations), is prohibited from incurring
election advertising expenses or any other sort of expense related to
elections during this period.

    Public meetings

    It should also be emphasized that there is a directive for the holding of
public meetings by non-partisan organizations during the election period. This
directive, along with extensive information concerning financing rules, is
available on the Website of the Chief Electoral Officer at the following
address: www.electionsquebec.qc.ca
    -%SU: CPN
    -%RE: 35




For further information:

For further information: Denis Dion, Information officer, (418)
644-3320, 1-888-870-3320, ddion@dgeq.qc.ca

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