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Completing the Cycle of Electoral Reforms – Recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 38th General Election


Chapter 4 – Financial Matters

4.1 Examination and Inquiry Powers for the Chief Electoral Officer


The Canada Elections Act should be amended to provide the Chief Electoral Officer with examination and inquiry powers for purposes relating to the accuracy or completeness of any financial return required under the Act by a registered party, registered association, candidate, nomination or leadership contestant, or third party. Any action, related to such an audit or inquiry, directed at some other person or entity, or involving entry to residential premises, would require advance judicial approval unless the person or entity consents.

Disclosure is an important aspect of electoral regulation. All primary political entities, registered parties, registered electoral district associations, candidates, and nomination and leadership contestants are now required to make reports to the Chief Electoral Officer either following an electoral event or annually, or both. Registered parties that receive quarterly allowances under the Act are also required to make quarterly reports. Movements of resources between those entities are also disclosed. Together, these various reports detail the contributions made to the reporting entity, and its other revenues and expenses, which are statutorily required to be accessible to the public. Third parties are required as well to make returns detailing their election advertising expenses. These reports are also publicly accessible.

Disclosure serves at least two public purposes: first, it is an important aspect of the informed vote; second, it serves as the basis for public reimbursement of election expenses to eligible political parties and to candidates.54

For the purpose of the informed vote, disclosure allows electors to take into consideration the financial relationships and operations of a political entity when they vote. Disclosure also contributes to the public confidence in political entities by permitting the public to dispel, or confirm, allegations or suspicions of illegal or inappropriate activities or influences. For example, to the extent that the public may have concerns about potential connections between financial support for a party and the award or refusal of public contracts, public disclosure of contributions serves as an important tool in identifying any such relationships or dealings.

For the purposes of public reimbursement, it is necessary to know the details of a party's or candidate's paid election expenses before the appropriate reimbursement can be made.

Inaccurate, erroneous or fraudulent disclosure obviously does not serve either of these purposes; nor does unverified or unverifiable disclosure. Information that cannot be verified does not contribute to the public confidence. To the extent that public reimbursement is based on disclosure, reimbursement should be made upon the basis of verifiable information. Incorrect information is counterproductive: undetected errors, omissions or misrepresentations may serve as the basis for incorrect judgements. Such judgements may operate to the advantage or disadvantage of a particular political entity.55

The Chief Electoral Officer possesses only limited verification powers over candidate and nomination contestant returns and no effective review power over the returns of registered parties, registered electoral district associations, leadership contestants or third parties. The current verification authority of the Chief Electoral Officer is not sufficient to serve the purposes of disclosure adequately.

Under the current state of affairs, the public must accept what the political entity submits (subject to complaint, investigation and enforcement by the Commissioner of Canada Elections).

While the Chief Electoral Officer possesses no express verification powers over the returns of candidates and nomination contestants, some aspects of those returns can be verified indirectly through cross-referencing of different aspects of the returns – notably through the use of vouchers, such as bank statements. However, this review method of document examination and comparison is not applicable to the returns of registered parties, registered associations or leadership contestants, insofar as those political entities are not required to provide bank statements and other supporting vouchers with their returns. Furthermore, complete failures to comply with the statutory requirements of the Act can render this review process ineffective in its application to candidates and nomination contestants. A decision to make some financial transactions wholly outside of the Act will not be evident from a review by document examination and comparison. For example, the collection of an ineligible contribution, particularly if made in cash, that is not deposited in a campaign account and which is used to meet an unreported election expense, also paid in cash, cannot be detected through a simple review of the documents filed with a campaign return.

The Act does provide for some forms of verification through independent audits of returns. Registered parties and candidates are required to provide auditor reports with their returns under the Act. Registered associations, nomination contestants, leadership contestants and third parties that meet specified financial benchmarks are also required to submit auditor reports with their returns.56 However, for a number of reasons, these requirements may not adequately serve the purposes of either the informed vote or the good management of public finances.

First, the auditor has the authority to access the information of the audit subject only and cannot compel information from other individuals or entities that may have had relationships or dealings with the audit subject.57

Second, where the Act requires an auditor's report, the auditor is required to report only on whether the return "presents fairly the information contained in the financial records on which it is based." In other words, the auditor is reporting only on whether the return is an accurate reflection of the political entity's records. The auditor is neither able to fully verify, nor required to report on, the initial completeness of those financial records.58

Third, the auditor is not a public official but is selected and retained by the political entities.

Fourth, past reviews of submitted candidates' returns have revealed that the requirement for an auditor's report does not guarantee a reliable or accurate report. Candidates' returns have shown a high frequency of errors or omissions that must be corrected – 99 percent of those submitted for the 38th general election – notwithstanding the fact that they may have been audited; this finding is consistent with earlier elections.59 This degree of error highlights the need for independent review of candidate election expenses by the Chief Electoral Officer as part of the reimbursement process.

There is no doubt that private auditors serve an important purpose by reducing the burden on the public authority. But for the reasons set out above, there should be a review mechanism for appropriate cases.

It is an offence under the Act to provide a false or misleading return. The Commissioner of Canada Elections, whose duty is to ensure that the Act is complied with and enforced, also possesses no specific review or audit powers over returns under the Act. Where the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to suspect that a regulated entity has committed an offence, the Commissioner can rely on the search-warrant provisions of the Criminal Code. However, this authority is useful only in the context of criminal enforcement and not for achieving the principal aims of disclosure: the informed vote and the good management of the public purse.

For these reasons, the Chief Electoral Officer should be given the necessary statutory authority to conduct audits and reviews of the returns of political entities. Such reviews would not likely be conducted on a universal and comprehensive basis; it is more likely that they would be conducted on a spot-audit basis when appropriate.

In some cases, this review authority would have to extend beyond the records of the audit subject to the records of other individuals or entities that may have been operating in conjunction with, or that may have had some operational relationship with, the audit subject. Specific safeguards would have to be built into the review authority for such circumstances. This report recommends that the types of review authority described below be provided to the Chief Electoral Officer:

  1. The Chief Electoral Officer should have the power to examine any document that relates to, or may relate to, the information that is or should be contained in the records of the entity, or that has been or should be included in a return.
     
  2. The Chief Electoral Officer should be given the power to enter any premises or place as required, in order to exercise the power of examination and to require the owner, occupant or person in charge of the premises or place to give the authorized person all reasonable assistance and to answer all proper questions relating to the accuracy or completeness of their records or books.
     
  3. If the premises or place into which the Chief Electoral Officer seeks to enter is a dwelling-house, entry should be permitted only with the consent of the occupant or under the authority of a warrant issued ex parte by a judge.
     
  4. For the purposes relating to the accuracy or completeness of any return required under the Act by a registered party, registered association, candidate, nomination or leadership contestant, or third party, the Chief Electoral Officer should be authorized to require, by notice served personally or by confirmed delivery service, that any person provide, within such reasonable time as is stated in the notice,

    (a) any information or additional information, including any information regarding a return or supplementary return; or

    (b) any document.

  5. A judge's authorization should be required in order to impose on any person, other than a registered party, registered association, candidate, nomination or leadership contestant, or third party, a requirement to provide information or any document.
     
  6. If a document is examined or provided in accordance with these provisions,

    (a) the person by whom it is examined or to whom it is provided, or any employee of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, may make one or more copies, or have them made; and

    (b) any document appearing to be certified by the Chief Electoral Officer or an authorized person to be a copy made under this subsection is evidence of the nature and content of the original document and has the same probative force as the original document would have if it were proven in the ordinary way.

  7. The Act should also provide that no person shall hinder, molest or interfere with any person doing anything that the person is authorized to do by or under these provisions, and, notwithstanding any other Act or law, every person shall, unless the person is unable to do so, do everything required by or under these provisions.

Overall, the Chief Electoral Officer would not be permitted to use the civil review and inquiry power to obtain information with the intent to provide the Commissioner of Canada Elections with the means to prosecute a person. This power would be subject to the Charter protections respecting the right to silence and the right against unreasonable search and seizure, as noted by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Jarvis (2002), 219 D.L.R. (4th) 233 (S.C.C.).

4.2 Reports of Volunteer Labour


A registered party that receives an annual allowance under section 435.01 of the Canada Elections Act should minimally be required to submit, as part of its annual financial transactions return described in paragraph 424(1)(a), a statement of the volunteer labour provided to the party.

The Act provides that "volunteer labour" does not constitute a contribution to a regulated political entity. Volunteer labour is defined as follows:

any service provided free of charge by a person outside their working hours, but does not include such a service provided by a person who is self-employed if the service is one that is normally charged for by that person.60

Allegations have been made at the Commission of Inquiry into the Sponsorship Program and Advertising Activities (the Gomery Commission) that a registered party benefited from the full-time work of "volunteers" who were in fact on the payroll of an outside organization while they provided their services to the party. This sort of activity would constitute a contribution to the registered party on the part of the organization paying the salary. However, if it is not reported as such by the party, and if the party is not required to report volunteer labour either, there is a higher risk that such schemes may never become known, thus frustrating the application of the Act.

To provide a more comprehensive picture of the contributions provided to them, registered parties should minimally be required to report information related to the volunteer labour they receive during the year. Specifically, these reports should include the names and addresses of volunteers.

The reporting obligation should fall only on registered parties that receive an annual allowance under section 435.01 of the Act – specifically, those that received at least two percent of the national vote or five percent of the vote in the districts in which they ran candidates in the most recent general election. Disclosure is of greatest interest for these parties, which are most likely to play a role in Parliament or the government. Furthermore, because they receive a quarterly allowance, these parties are able to devote more resources toward complying with somewhat more stringent reporting requirements.

Because candidates, small parties and registered associations function almost exclusively through volunteers, the burden on these organizations of reporting volunteer labour would likely outweigh the benefit from disclosure.

4.3 Mailing Householders After the Issue of the Writs


It should be made clear in the Canada Elections Act that householders that are issued by members of the House of Commons during an election period, and that have the effect of promoting or opposing a registered party or the election of a candidate, constitute election advertising.

The status of householders sent out by members of the House of Commons during an election is an ongoing source of confusion.61

Section 319 of the Act defines election advertising as "the transmission to the public by any means during an election period of an advertising message that promotes or opposes a registered party or the election of a candidate, including one that takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated."62 For this reason, a householder of a member of the House of Commons that has the effect of promoting or opposing a registered party or the re-election of a member of the House or another candidate, or takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or a candidate is associated, can constitute election advertising if issued during an election.

A party or candidate may be promoted or opposed in many ways beyond simple express statements. Promotion or opposition may be indirect, through the promotion or opposition of issues with which a party or candidate is associated, or through the praising or criticism of past successes or failures. Thus, in the context of third-party election advertising, subsection 350(2) refers to the spending of money to promote or oppose the election of candidates:

including by

(a) naming them;

(b) showing their likenesses;

(c) identifying them by their respective political affiliations; or

(d) taking a position on an issue with which they are particularly associated.

Having said this, however, the Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons on March 30, 2004, approved as a policy issue that all members with a householder entitlement can print and mail a one-page householder within 10 days of the dissolution of Parliament on a first-come, first-served basis.63 Content related to the election was prohibited.

While householders issued outside of an election forge a useful link between members of the House and their constituents, play a key role in engaging Canadians in the federal political process, and provide valuable insights and information to constituents about the work of the House and its members, householders issued during an election period that promote a registered party or the re-election of a candidate serve as a significant form of election advertising. Such promotional material, when taxpayer supported and subsidized, if not recognized as election advertising and thus subject to the controls of the Act respecting election expenses, provides a significant advantage to members of the House which is not available to non-parliamentary parties or to other candidates.

During election periods, Elections Canada invariably receives several complaints from candidates and members of the public stating that the issuance of householders during an election campaign is unfair.

For these reasons it should be made clear in the Act that the issuance of a householder by a member of the House of Commons during an election period that has the effect of promoting or opposing a registered party or the election of a candidate, including promotion by the various means noted in subsection 350(2) of the Act, constitutes election advertising. This clarification of the existing law would ensure that all candidates are on a level playing field for election advertising expenses.

As is currently the case, the cost of a householder whose distribution is beyond the control of a member of the House when the writs are issued (for example, if the householder is in the hands of Canada Post at the time) would not constitute an election expense.

4.4 Extension of Deadline Process for Candidates' Returns


The current extension system for candidates' returns should be replaced by a more flexible one (described below) that reduces the need for candidates to seek a court order to be able to file their late or amended returns.

The Canada Elections Act requires the official agent of each candidate to provide the Chief Electoral Officer with a return on the financing received and expenses incurred by the candidate for his or her electoral campaign. The official agent must accompany this with an auditor's report on the return and a declaration, signed by both the candidate and the official agent, attesting to the correctness and completeness of the return. The return itself must include detailed information on the candidate's election expenses and other electoral campaign expenses, disputed and unpaid claims, contributions received, goods and services provided, funds transferred by the candidate to other regulated political entities and made to him or her by these entities, and contributions returned. Failure to include all this material does not invalidate a return, but does constitute an offence.

These documents must be provided to the Chief Electoral Officer within four months of polling day.64

Section 458 of the Act authorizes the Chief Electoral Officer to extend the period provided for the submission of these returns. This extension may be granted only under certain circumstances (inadvertence or an honest mistake of fact; illness of the candidate; or absence, death, illness or misconduct of the official agent or of his or her predecessors, agents or employees). Furthermore, the application for extension must be made within the four-month period after polling day.

Under the Act, if, for one reason or another, neither the candidate nor the official agent asks for an extension prior to the deadline for filing the return, or cannot show at that time that their situation is one of those described above, their only recourse is to apply to a judge for an order authorizing an extension of the deadline. The Act further requires that this application to a judge be made during the same four-month period or within two weeks after the expiration of that period.65

The Chief Electoral Officer is authorized to grant only one extension. If a return cannot be filed as required by the extended date, a request for a further extension must also be made to a judge. Again, the request must be made within two weeks of the expiry of the extension period.

The provisions of the Act aim at obliging all candidates and their official agents to prepare and file their returns speedily after the election. This goal is fundamental and should remain the primary consideration. It is worth noting that this goal is further reinforced by the penalty attached to failing to provide a return as required under the Act. Elected candidates who do not meet these requirements may not continue to sit or vote as a Member of Parliament until the reports are provided in accordance with the Act.66 Furthermore, candidates who do not file their returns as required by the Act may not be reimbursed for a portion of their election expenses even if they are otherwise eligible,67 lose the nomination deposit (section 468) and are subject to prosecution for not having filed the return.68

This process is complex, inflexible and burdensome, and is undermined by the fact that there is no record of a court refusing an application for an extension.69

Out of 1,686 candidates who had to file returns after the 38th general election, approximately 400 did not file their returns on time and requested an extension of the filing deadline; about 40 candidates filed portions of their returns on time but did not include all four of the required documents on time.

For a number of reasons, including the degree of experience of the candidates or their agents, and the significant amount of information to be provided on the return, some candidates do not realize that their returns are incomplete until so informed by Elections Canada. Though Elections Canada conducts a preliminary review as soon as possible after receiving a return to determine its completeness and to advise candidates of any easily detectible defects,70 some missing elements might not be detected until long after the deadline to apply for an extension has passed.71 Similarly, candidates do not always seek the necessary extensions to update their returns once they discover that a correction must be made.

The following process would be more flexible, and would reduce the need for candidates to seek a court order to be able to file their late returns:

  1. If an application is made prior to the end of the four-month deadline to file a return, the Chief Electoral Officer should be required to grant an extension, unless there is evidence of bad faith, or an attempt to subvert the electoral reporting system on the part of the candidate or his or her official agent. An explanation would have to be provided to support the request and it would be an offence for this explanation to contain false or misleading statements.
     
  2. Once this deadline has passed, an application for an extension may be made in the following two weeks, but the Chief Electoral Officer may not authorize it unless he is satisfied that the circumstances giving rise to the application arose by reason of inadvertence or an honest mistake of fact; illness of the candidate; or absence, death, illness or misconduct of the official agent or of his or her predecessors, agents or employees.
     
  3. The Chief Electoral Officer may authorize the filing of a late return at any time after the two weeks following the four-month deadline, if the circumstances giving rise to the application arose by reason of inadvertence or an honest mistake of fact; illness of the candidate; or death, illness or misconduct of the official agent or of his or her predecessors, agents or employees; the application for late filing would also have to be accompanied by a cheque payable to the Receiver General for Canada ($1,000 is used as a working assumption).
     
  4. If the Chief Electoral Officer dismisses an application for an extension of time or does not authorize a late filing, the candidate could seek judicial review of this decision.
     
  5. The current provisions (sections 461 and 462) entitling candidates to seek relief from any liability or consequence as a result of an act of the official agent or the destruction of documents by fire, flood or a similar disaster would remain as options.

The proposed amount of $1,000 as a further condition for the Chief Electoral Officer to consider the late application for an extension is equal to the fine that could be imposed, on summary conviction, on a candidate whose return has been filed late. This fee should also be considered in light of the amounts that are currently required in lawyers' fees and court costs associated with seeking an extension from a judge.

The option of applying to a court to seek an extension would be eliminated. As stated above, there is no record of such an application having been refused; some may perceive this recourse as an unnecessary use of the judicial system. However, candidates whose applications for an extension are refused by the Chief Electoral Officer could seek judicial review. In situations where an applicant is too late to seek an extension, the option of filing remains open if this filing is accompanied by the payment of the $1,000 amount and an explanation for the late filing.

The current enforcement mechanisms (the right to sit in the House, to receive a partial reimbursement for election expenses, the risk of being prosecuted for not filing on time) would remain, unless the extension is granted or the late return is accepted by the Chief Electoral Officer. These enforcement measures would therefore continue to act as inducements to file returns promptly.

4.5 Candidate Audit Fee Subsidies


Drafting errors that obscure the intent of sections 466 and 467 of the Canada Elections Act should be corrected. Section 466 should be amended to expressly determine the amount of the subsidy for candidates' audit fees as the amount of the audit expense, up to a maximum of the lesser of 3 percent of the candidate's election expenses and $1,500, and a minimum of $250.

Since the inception of the requirement for audited candidate returns with S.C. 1973-74, c. 51, the Act has always provided for a minimum auditor subsidy.72 The current French- and English-language versions of sections 466 and 46773 appear to be the result of the drafters of the 2003 Bill C-24 structuring those versions on the English-language version of section 466, which appeared with Bill C-2 in 2000, without realizing that the 2000 English-language version of section 466 was drafted incorrectly.

As grammatically interpreted, the sections provide that a public subsidy for a candidate's auditor fees shall be paid only for an auditor's invoice of $250 or more. Furthermore, where there is such an invoice, the subsidy is to be the actual amount of the invoice billed, up to a ceiling of the lesser of 3 percent of the candidate's election expenses or $1,500. If this interpretation were followed, it would mean that no audit subsidy would be paid to an auditor whose invoice is less than $250. It would also mean that, regardless of the size of the actual auditor invoice, no subsidy would be paid to candidates who have no election expenses; the subsidy would be minimal in cases of candidates with minimal election expenses. This would be notwithstanding the fact that the Act requires that all campaign returns for candidates be audited and that a copy of the audit report be filed with the Chief Electoral Officer (section 453 and subsection 451(1)). The audit obligation applies to campaigns where the election-expense limit was reached and to campaigns where very little or nothing was expended.

Such a grammatical reading of the provisions is clearly wrong and does not reflect the legislative history of the audit subsidy and the intent of that subsidy.

Elections Canada has never applied a strict grammatical interpretation of these provisions, but instead follows the traditional approach to the audit subsidy by adopting a purposive interpretation of the provision, according to standard techniques of statutory interpretation. The provisions for candidates' audit subsidies are interpreted as directing that, where an audit fee is incurred for the audit of a campaign return, and there has been a proper filing of the return under section 451, an audit subsidy at the amount of the expense is to be paid up to a maximum of the lesser of 3 percent of the candidate's election expenses and $1,500, with a minimum payment of $250. Elections Canada believes this interpretation reflects the intent of Parliament and this report recommends that sections 466 and 467 be amended to reflect that intent.


54 Disclosure can also be relevant to the enforcement of the Act to the extent that breaches of financing provisions of the statute may be found as a result of such disclosure. This, however, is an incidental aspect of disclosure rather than a primary purpose.

55 To illustrate this, it is not uncommon for a candidate to erroneously report election expenses in excess of the legal limit. Such overspending would amount to an offence under the Act. However, on review, it is often discovered that expenses that did not qualify as election expenses had been included in the return. Thus, the verification of the return operates to the advantage of both the candidate and the public by correcting the impression of improper conduct on the part of the candidate.

56 Registered electoral district associations – ss. 403.35(1) and 403.37(1) (contributions or expenses in excess of $5,000.00); nomination contestants – ss. 478.23(1) and 478.25(1) (contributions or nomination campaign expenses in excess of $10,000.00); leadership contestants – ss. 435.3(1) and 435.33(1) (contributions or leadership campaign expenses in excess of $5,000.00); third parties – s. 360(1) (election advertising expenses in excess of $5,000.00).

57 The Act requires that an auditor have access at any reasonable time to the documents of the audit subject and provides that the auditor may require the audit subject to provide any information or explanation that, in the auditor's opinion, is necessary to prepare the report. This authority extends only to the audit subject and not others with whom the audit subject may have relationships or dealings. See ss. 360(4) (third parties), 403.37(3) (registered electoral district associations), 426(3) and 430(3) (registered parties), 453(4) (candidates), 435.33(3) (leadership contestants) and 478.28(3) (nomination contestants). Furthermore, it is not an offence for an audit subject to fail to provide an auditor with required access unless that failure is done with the intent of delaying or obstructing the electoral process (s. 480(1)). An auditor who feels that not all of the required information has been provided is to make a statement to that effect in the auditor's report; this statement will disentitle the audit subject to an election-expense reimbursement. This enforcement mechanism therefore applies only to those to whom an election reimbursement is payable.

58 In illustration, see the following quotations from chapters 5 and 6 of the Guide for the Auditor of a Candidate in a Federal Election, published by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants:

Completeness: It should be noted that the Act does not require the auditor to determine that all financial transactions have been recorded in the candidate's accounting records. As with most organizations that receive funds by donation, it is not possible to determine the extent, if any, of unrecorded donations. Furthermore, since donated property and services are both contributions and expenses, it is not possible to determine that all expenses have been recorded. The auditor should, nevertheless, be alert for specific circumstances arousing suspicion that the information in the Return is not complete. Such circumstances would include situations where campaign expenditures were significantly in excess of receipts or the reconciliation of the bank account was not properly done. In such a situation, it is possible that some cash receipts (through donations, loans) have not been recorded. The auditor should question how the expenditures were made. In the absence of suspicious circumstances, however, the auditor has no obligation to carry out procedures directed at a determination of the completeness of the accounting records.

...

The use of the wording "the Return presents fairly the information contained in the financial records on which it is based" in the auditor's report helps to avoid any possible implication that the auditor is expressing an opinion as to the completeness of the accounting records. As discussed in Chapter 5, it is not practicable to determine whether all revenues and expenses are recorded in this type of engagement where much of the revenue is in the form of donations. The Act does not, therefore, require that the auditor express an opinion as to the completeness of the Return. This is discussed further in Chapter 5.

The Canada Elections Act attempts to ameliorate this aspect of the private audit process (but only in the case of candidate returns) by requiring the completion of an auditor's checklist that sets out the task the auditor is required to have performed in the completion of the checklist. This must be included with the auditor's report. (s. 453(2))

Where, on examination, it appears to the auditor that proper accounting records have not been kept, the auditor is to include in the auditor's report a statement to that effect.

59 Errors ranged from serious to minor.

60 Section 2.

61 See the evidence of the Chief Electoral Officer before the Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on December 6, 2001.

62 The full definition reads:

"election advertising" means the transmission to the public by any means during an election period of an advertising message that promotes or opposes a registered party or the election of a candidate, including one that takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated. For greater certainty, it does not include

(a) the transmission to the public of an editorial, a debate, a speech, an interview, a column, a letter, a commentary or news;

(b) the distribution of a book, or the promotion of the sale of a book, for no less than its commercial value, if the book was planned to be made available to the public regardless of whether there was to be an election;

(c) the transmission of a document directly by a person or a group to their members, employees or shareholders, as the case may be; or

(d) the transmission by an individual, on a non-commercial basis on what is commonly known as the Internet, of his or her personal political views.

63 The ability to continue to access state-subsidized communication for 10 days after the dissolution of Parliament is also provided for indirectly in section 35 of the Canada Post Corporation Act:

35. (3) Subject to regulations made pursuant to section 36, in any calendar year a member of the House of Commons may transmit by post free of postage to his constituents up to four mailings of printed matter without further address than "householder", "boxholder", "occupant" or "resident".

(5) The privileges provided under subsections (2) and (3) to a person who is a member of the House of Commons begin on the day that notice of his election to serve in the House of Commons is given by the Chief Electoral Officer in the Canada Gazette and end ten days after the day he ceases to be a member of that House.

64 Section 451 of the Act.

65 Section 459.

66 Subsection 463(2).

67 Section 465.

68 Paragraphs 497(1)(u), (v), (x) and others.

69 The expenditure of time and money to secure a judicial authorization can be seen as a form of de facto penalty and an untoward use of judicial resources.

70 Elections Canada offices remain open to midnight on filing date to assist last-minute filers.

71 For example, an auditor's report signed by a person who does not meet the conditions of eligibility for auditors set out in subsection 85(1) of the Act is not a problem that is always identifiable on the face of the file. This problem may be identified only at a later date, during a more thorough review of the return. As a result of the identification of this error, the return then becomes incomplete, at a time when all possibilities of extension have been exhausted.

72 The legislative history of the two sections may be traced as follows:

    -  S.C. 1973-74, c. 51, ss. 63.1(2) and (3)

    -  S.C. 1980-81-82-83, c. 164, ss. 63.1(3.4) to (3.6)

    -  R.S.C. 1985, c. E-2, ss. 243 and 244

    -  S.C. 2000, c. 9, ss. 466 and 467 (Bill C-2)

    -  S.C. 2001, c. 21, the French-language version of s. 467 amended to correct a different error

    -  S.C. 2003, c. 19, ss. 466 and 467 (Bill C-24)

73

466. On receipt of the documents referred to in subsection 451(1) and, if it applies, subsection 455(1), including the auditor's report, and a copy of the auditor's invoice for that report in an amount of $250 or more, the Chief Electoral Officer shall provide the Receiver General with a certificate that sets out the amount of the expenses incurred for the audit, up to a maximum of the lesser of 3% of the candidate's election expenses and $1,500.

466. Sur réception des documents visés au paragraphe 451(1) et, le cas échéant, au paragraphe 455(1) et du rapport du vérificateur ainsi que d'une copie de la facture de celui-ci pour le rapport – dans la mesure où elle n'est pas inférieure à 250 $ –, le directeur général des élections transmet au receveur général un certificat indiquant le montant des dépenses engagées pour la vérification, représentant 3 % des dépenses électorales du candidat, jusqu'à concurrence de 1 500 $.

467. On receipt of the certificate, the Receiver General shall pay the amount set out in it to the auditor out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

467. Sur réception du certificat, le receveur général paie au vérificateur, sur le Trésor, la somme qui y est précisée.