Thursday, March 19, 2009

Elections Canada and Saanich-Gulf Islands

Public Eye Online's Sean Holman reports on the latest from Elections Canada on the fallout from the last election in Saanich-Gulf Islands, where NDP supporters got phantom phone calls and a bevy of third-party advertising appeared, much of it with possible connections to a prominent Gary Lunn supporter:

Elections Canada has closed an investigation into mysterious phone calls encouraging Saanich-Gulf Island residents to vote for a candidate who dropped out of the campaign. But there's still a chance the agency could look into the controversy surrounding third party advertisers in that riding, Public Eye has learned.
(read more)
It's really ridiculous they weren't able to trace those phone calls. We'll see what, if anything, happens on the advertising front.
**Help send a BCer to BC for the Liberal convention. Any support is greatly appreciated.

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A reader said...

Insofar as the third party advertising goes, there are two relevant offences under the Elections Act:

No combination to exceed limit

351. A third party shall not circumvent, or attempt to circumvent, a limit set out in section 350 in any manner, including by splitting itself into two or more third parties for the purpose of circumventing the limit or acting in collusion with another third party so that their combined election advertising expenses exceed the limit.

Prohibition – expenses more than maximum

443. (1) No candidate, official agent of a candidate or person authorized under paragraph 446(c) to enter into contracts shall incur election expenses in an amount that is more than the election expenses limit calculated under section 440.

Prohibition – collusion

(2) No candidate, official agent of the candidate, person authorized under paragraph 446(c) to enter into contracts or third party, within the meaning given that expression by section 349, shall collude with each other for the purpose of circumventing the election expenses limit calculated under section 440.


Four of the five third parties were all registered through the offices of the same Victoria laywer. One of the five received assistance from Gary Lunn's co-campaign manager with their sign order, reports. It will be very interesting indeed to see what happens on the advertising front.

By all accounts, the race in Saanich-Gulf Islands was the focus of a lot of different efforts to influence the outcome, most of the back stories to which we will probably never learn in full.

penlan said...

Briony Penn would have won that seat except for this illegal operation. I hope it doesn't sit in the shadows forever. Lunn should be removed from office for this & from the Con Party.

OT - how are you doing on the funds for BC front, Jeff? Glad you put the button up but is there some way you can make it stand out more? It's faded looking & doesn't catch the eye enough. Easy to scroll right past it without noticing it's there.

Jeff said...

reader, I won't be holding my breath, but there may be enough of a paper trail here that something could come of it, one hopes.

penlan, I was quite surprised when Lunn pulled it off. I thought Briony had this one. But even with all the 3rd party stuff and calls, what surprised me the most was the number of votes the NDP got even with Jullian West out of the race. I think a lot of NDP voters just couldn't bring themselves to vote Liberal, even if it meant turfing Lunn.

On the fundraising, I'm about 16% there. The LPC seems to be having trouble keeping the site online though, it was down most of yesterday and is down again this morning. I'll see if I can jazz the button up tonight, graphic design isn't one of my skillsets.

penlan said...

Jeff, Maybe you could set up a PayPal acct. & put a button up for that, too, with a "send BC'er to BC" under it? Because of the site problems.

Also, the badge you put isn't too bad it's just your send a BC'er to BC that needs to be darker/stronger, clearer. :)

Jeff said...

I may need to if they can't keep the site working, but the advantages of doing it through the party are they don't take a cut and it's tax recieptable for the donor. Hopefully they get it fixed.