Press release no. 3 - September 21, 2009 by-election - Political contributions and election expenses: there are rules that must be followed



    QUEBEC, Aug. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Within the context of the upcoming
September 21st by-election in the electoral division of Rousseau, 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 today, August 20th, until
the close of polling stations on September 21st 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 Rousseau, the preliminary limit on elections
expenses is thus set at $103,535.35 with this figure being based on the number
of electors entered on the lists of electors at the issue of the writ.

    Advertising

    Certain provisions of the Election Act concern advertising during the
election period.
    Certain types of advertising dealing with this election are banned from
August 20th to 26th 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 September 21st, polling day.
    However, this ban does not prevent the official agent of 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: 66




For further information:

For further information: Cynthia Gagnon, Information officer, (418)
644-3320, 1 888 870-3320, cgagnon@dgeq.qc.ca

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