QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 8, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - In the context of the upcoming November 9, 2015 by-elections in the Beauce-Sud, Fabre, René-Lévesque, and Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne electoral divisions, the Chief Electoral Officer, Pierre Reid, wishes to remind electors and candidates of the main provisions of the Election Act concerning the control of election expenses. It should be stressed from the outset that these rules are to be applied as of today, i.e. the beginning of the election period, until the closing of polling stations on November 9, 2015.
Election expenses are the cost of any goods or services used during the election period for the purpose of promoting or opposing a candidate, directly or indirectly. During a by-election, political parties are not authorized to incur election expenses, and the equivalent of their expense limit is added to the candidates' limit. The party's official agent is the only person empowered to incur or authorize election expenses. Expenses are limited and subject to control.
During the current by-election, candidates' election expenses are limited to $1.39 per elector registered on the list of electors, except for the electoral division of René-Lévesque where the limit is $1,59 per elector. The preliminary expense limits are the following: $67 548,44 for the electoral division of Beauce-Sud; $69 582,01 for the electoral division of Fabre; $54 053,64 for the electoral division of René-Lévesque; and $80 849,35 for the electoral division of Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne. These figures are based on the number of registered electors on the list of electors at the time the writ instituting the by-election was issued. It should be pointed out that the number of electors is derived from the electoral map used during the last general election.
Certain forms of publicity pertaining to the current election are prohibited from now until October 14, 2015 inclusively. The prohibition includes, more specifically, the publication or dissemination of publicity messages by way of print or electronic media, in particular radio, television, newspapers and other periodicals, as well as publicity posters and billboards in spaces rented for this purpose, whether the medium used is physical or virtual (internet and social media). Electoral publicity disseminated or published in print or electronic media is also prohibited on polling day, i.e. on November 9, 2015.
However, this prohibition does not prevent the official agent of a candidate from affixing posters, as of now, along roadways or pedestrian thoroughfares, or from distributing flyers. It should also be underlined that during the election period all publicity must be identified, as stipulated in the Election Act.
Authorization of independent candidates
All those wishing to participate in the current election as an "independent candidate" must obtain authorization to do so from the Chief Electoral Officer if they wish to collect money or incur expenses, even if they intend to pay all expenses related to their election themselves. In fact, every independent candidate must be authorized before soliciting or collecting contributions, contracting loans or incurring election expenses. In their application for authorization, independent candidates must designate a trusted person to serve as their official representative and official agent. The above-mentioned duties are important because this person alone is in charge of collecting contributions and authorizing election expenses.
It should be noted that the Election Act provides for public financing for independent candidates such that for every dollar collected as a contribution for their benefit, the Chief Electoral Officer will pay, in the manner and at the frequency the latter determines, a matching allowance of $2.50, up to an annual amount of $800 paid in contributions. In total, a given independent candidate may therefore receive up to $2,000 per year in public financing (i.e. $800 x $2.50 /dollar of contribution).
The status of private intervenor
A private intervenor may incur publicity expenses, the total of which may not exceed $300, from his or her own assets, to convey a message that the intervenor intends to put forward during the election period. However, the law prohibits the latter from incurring expenses jointly with any other person or entity, whether another private intervenor, a political party, a candidate, or otherwise.
Although a private intervenor may make his or her views known concerning a matter of public interest, or advocate abstention or the spoiling of ballots, he or she may not directly promote or oppose a candidate or a party, or be a member of a party, or act directly on behalf of a candidate or a party.
In order to obtain this status the interested individual must receive prior authorization from the returning officer of the electoral division of Beauce-Sud, Fabre, René-Lévesque or Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne. For the by-elections of November 9, 2015, the application for authorization must be filed between October 13 and October 27, 2015. Forms for this purpose are available under the heading "Forms" on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer.
The holding of public assemblies by non-partisan and partisan organizations during the election period is governed by a directive. This directive is available in the Guide for the Official Agent of a party and of a party candidate (page 108) on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer.
Other points of information concerning the rules governing the financing and control of election expenses are also available on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer.
SOURCE Directeur général des élections
For further information: Denis Dion, Information Officer, 418-644-3320 or 1-888-870-3320, [email protected]