Illegal financing of political parties - The DGEQ notifies some provincial and municipal political parties that the reimbursement of illegal contributions may be required

March 22, 2013

Québec City, March 22, 2013 – The recent revelations made at the Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry (Charbonneau commission) have led the Chief Electoral Officer of Québec to notify some provincial and municipal political parties that non-conforming contributions may have to be reimbursed. The DGEQ has, today, sent letters on this matter to three provincial parties and nine municipal parties.

By “non-conforming contributions”, it is understood to mean, for example, a sum given to a political party by using another’s name (strawman donations). Several witnesses who have recently testified at the Charbonneau commission have admitted to using this strategy to finance certain provincial and municipal parties. The DGEQ cannot, however, claim an immediate reimbursement because the identity of the donors, the amounts given, as well as when the money was given to the political party must first be established.

In cases where the contributions are reimbursed by a party, the law states what will happen. The Election Act, where the rules governing the financing of political parties are laid out, states that the sums are to be sent to the Ministre des Finances. A similar mechanism is in place in the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities. In these cases, the amount of the illegal contribution is sent to the municipal treasurer to be deposited into the general fund of the municipality. Both at the municipal and provincial levels, contributions given more than 5 years after knowledge of the fact of the illegal donation do not need to be reimbursed.


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Categories : Provincial, Municipal, Infractions of the ARERM, Infractions of the Electoral Act, DGE

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