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2nd Session, 41st Legislature

This HTML version is provided for ease of use and is based on the bilingual version that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.

Bill 26

THE ELECTION FINANCING AMENDMENT ACT


  Bilingual version (PDF) Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. E27 amended

1           The Election Financing Act is amended by this Act.

2           Subclauses 21(1)(b)(ii) and 23(b)(ii) are amended by striking out "annual advertising expenses" and substituting "pre-election advertising expenses".

3           The third paragraph of the overview to Part 4 is amended by striking out "$3,000" and substituting "$5,000".

4(1)        Subsection 32(3) is amended

(a) in item 2, by striking out ", that exceed the reasonable expenses of the conference or convention"; and

(b) by repealing item 5.

4(2)        The information note following subsection 32(4) is repealed.

4(3)        Subsection 32(5) is amended by striking out "is less than $25" and substituting "does not exceed $25".

4(4)        Subsection 32(6) is amended

(a) in the first paragraph, by striking out "$25 or more" and substituting "more than $25"; and

(b) in the second paragraph,

(i) by striking out "less than $75" and substituting "$75 or less", and

(ii) by striking out "less than $25" and substituting "$25 or less".

4(5)        Subsection 32(7) is amended

(a) in the first paragraph, by striking out "$25 or more" and substituting "more than $25"; and

(b) in the second paragraph,

(i) by striking out "less than $75" and substituting "$75 or less", and

(ii) by striking out "less than $25" and substituting "$25 or less".

5(1)        Subsection 34(1) is amended by striking out "$3,000" and substituting "$5,000" in the section heading and in the section.

5(2)        The following is added after subsection 34(1):

(1.1) — Inflation adjustment for annual contribution limit

At the beginning of the year after the year in which a fixed date election was held, the CEO must adjust the annual contribution limits in subsection (1) for inflation and publish the new limit.

The CEO must make the adjustment by

(a) determining the ratio between the consumer price index for the City of Winnipeg at the beginning of the 2018 calendar year and the consumer price index for the City of Winnipeg at the beginning of the calendar year for which the adjustment is made,

(b) applying the ratio to the dollar figure in subsection (1), and

(c) rounding up the result to the nearest $100.

6           The following is added after subsection 35(3):

(3.1) — Limit on cash contributions

An individual must not contribute cash in an amount that exceeds $25.

7           Clauses 36(1)(e) and 37(2)(f) are repealed.

8           The third paragraph of the information note after subsection 52(4) is amended by striking out "outside the election period but within the year of a fixed date election" and substituting "during the pre-election period".

9           Subsection 53(3) is replaced with the following:

(3) — If preliminary list shows greater number

The number of names on the preliminary voters list under section 75 of The Elections Act is to be used to calculate the limits under sections 51 and 52 if there are more names on that list than there are on the revised or final voters lists.

10          The first paragraph of the overview to Part 8 is amended by striking out "the rest of the year in which a fixed date election is held" and substituting "the 90 days before the start of the election period of a fixed date election".

11          Section 57 is repealed.

12          Section 58 is amended

(a) in the section heading, by striking out "YEAR OF FIXED DATE ELECTION" and substituting "PRE-ELECTION PERIOD";

(b) in subsections (1) and (2),

(i) by striking out "In the year of a fixed date election, a" and substituting "A", and

(ii) by striking out "outside the election period" and substituting "during the pre-election period"; and

(c) in subsection (3),

(i) by striking out "year" and substituting "pre-election period" in the section heading, and

(ii) by striking out "the year of a fixed date election" and substituting "a pre-election period".

13          Section 59 of the English version is amended in subsection (1) and in clause (2)(b) by striking out "annual".

14(1)       The table in subsection 61(1) is amended, in the third row of Column 2, by striking out "The party's financial officer (in the year of a fixed date election)" and substituting "The party's financial officer (in a pre-election period)".

14(2)       The following is added after subsection 61(3):

(4) — Expanded definition of "advertising"

In this section, "advertising" includes promotional materials.

15          Subsection 62(1) is amended in clause (b) of item 1 by striking out "annual advertising expenses" and substituting "pre-election advertising expenses".

16          Subsection 63(1) is amended in clause (b) of item 1 by striking out "annual advertising expenses" and substituting "pre-election advertising expenses".

17          The following is added at the end of subsection 64(1):

4.  An unaudited financial statement of the constituency association for the previous year in a form satisfactory to the CEO.

18          Subsection 68(1) is amended by adding the following after clause (b):

(b.1) in the case of a failure by a constituency association's financial officer, the registered party's financial officer;

19          The overview to Part 12 is amended by replacing the second and third paragraphs with the following:

A third party must not spend more than $25,000 on election communications in the election period for a general election or more than $100,000 in the 90-day period before the start of the election period for a fixed date election. A third party must not spend more than $5,000 in the election period for a by-election.

A third party must identify itself in any election communication it makes. Once a third party spends $2,500 on election communications, it must register with the CEO, appoint a financial officer and make a financial report to the CEO.

If election communication expenses of a third party are incurred with the knowledge and consent of a registered party, those expenses are considered to be advertising expenses of the registered party.

20          Section 82 is amended

(a) in the definition "election communication expense", by striking out ", before or during an election period,"; and

(b) by replacing the definition "election communication" with the following:

"election communication" means a communication during an election period or a pre-election period of a 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. (« communication électorale »)

21          The following is added after section 82:

82.1        APPLICATION

(1) — Which communications are covered by this Part?

This Part applies only to election communications that are

(a) published in newspapers, magazines or other periodicals,

(b) broadcast on radio or television,

(c) posted or distributed on the Internet, or

(d) posted on billboards, buses or other property normally used for commercial advertising.

(2) — Exceptions

This Part does not apply to any of the following:

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

(b) the distribution of a book, or the promotion of the sale of a book, for not less than its commercial value,

(c) the transmission by an individual, on a non-commercial basis on the Internet, of his or her personal views,

(d) the transmission of a document or message directly by a person or a group to their members, employees or shareholders.

22          Section 83 is replaced with the following:

83           ELECTION COMMUNICATION EXPENSE LIMITS

(1) — Spending limit during election period

A third party must not incur election communication expenses of more than $25,000 for election communications in the election period for a general election.

(2) — Spending limit for pre-election period

A third party must not incur election communication expenses of more than $100,000 for election communications in a pre-election period.

(3) — Spending limit for by-elections

A third party must not incur election communication expenses of more than $5,000 for election communications in the election period for a by-election or in the election period for multiple by-elections that have the same election day.

(4) — Inflation adjustment

At the beginning of the year after the year in which a fixed date election was held, the CEO must adjust the limits set out in subsections (1), (2) and (3) for inflation and must publish the new limit. The adjustment must be made in the same manner as the adjustment made under subsection 34(1.1).

23(1)       Subsection 85(1) is amended

(a) by striking out "$500" and substituting "$2,500"; and

(b) by repealing the second paragraph.

23(2)       Subsection 85(5) is amended by striking out "only for the campaign period during which the application is made" and substituting "until election day".

24          Subsection 86(5) is amended in the part before clause (a) by striking out "$500" and substituting "$2,500".

25          Subsection 88(1) is amended by striking out "$500" and substituting "$2,500".

26          The following is added after section 89:

89.1         NO CIRCUMVENTING RULES

A third party must not circumvent or attempt to circumvent the election communication expense limits in section 83 or the registration requirement in section 85 in any manner, including

(a) by splitting itself into two or more third parties; or

(b) by acting in collusion with another third party so that their combined election communication expenses exceed a limit set out in section 83.

89.2         ELECTION COMMUNICATION EXPENSES AS ADVERTISING EXPENSES

If a third party incurs election communication expenses with the knowledge and consent of a registered party, those expenses are considered to be advertising expenses of the registered party under Parts 7 and 8.

27          Subsection 99(2) is replaced with the following:

(2) — Offences relating to election expenses and pre-election advertising expenses

A registered party that contravenes section 51 (election expense limit) or subsection 58(1) (pre-election advertising limits) is guilty of an offence.

A candidate who contravenes section 52 (election expense limit) or subsection 58(2) (pre-election advertising limits) is guilty of an offence.

28          Clause 99(3)(b) of the English version is amended by striking out "(advertising limits during year of fixed date election)" and substituting "(pre-election advertising expense limits)".

29          Section 115 is amended

(a) by repealing the definition "annual advertising expenses";

(b) by adding the following definitions:

"Internet" includes other methods of electronic communication. (« Internet »)

"pre-election advertising expenses" means the advertising expenses incurred by a registered party or candidate that are subject to the limits established in section 58. (« période préélectorale »)

"pre-election period" means the 90-day period before the start of the election period of a fixed date election. (« période préélectorale »)

(c) by replacing the definition "volunteer labour" with the following:

"volunteer labour" means a service provided free of charge by an individual and in respect of which the person receives no compensation, directly or indirectly, for providing the services or for the time spent providing it. (« travail bénévole »)

Coming into force

30          This Act comes into force three months after the day it receives royal assent.

Explanatory Note

This Bill makes several amendments to The Election Financing Act.

Significant amendments to the rules governing contributions include the following:

  • The annual contribution limit for individuals is increased from $3,000 to $5,000, and is indexed for inflation.
  • All fees paid to attend a political party conference or convention, including a leadership convention, are now considered to be contributions.
  • A self-employed person is no longer considered to be making a contribution if they volunteer services for which they normally charge.
  • Cash contributions are limited to $25 or less.

Significant amendments to the rules governing advertising by candidates and political parties and communications made by third parties include the following:

  • Advertising expense limits that previously applied to candidates and political parties during the year of a fixed date election (outside the election period) now apply to the 90-day period before the election period of a fixed date election.
  • The definition "election communication" that applies to third parties is expanded to include communications about issues associated with a political party or a candidate.
  • Promotional materials such as signs and banners are no longer treated as election communication expenses for third parties or as advertising expenses for political parties.
  • The limits on third party spending for election communications is $25,000 during the election period for a general election, $100,000 during the 90-day period before the election period of a fixed-date election, and $5,000 for a by-election. These limits are indexed for inflation.

In addition, the number of names on the preliminary voters list (not the voter list from the previous general election) is to be used to determine the minimum election expense limits for candidates and parties. Constituency associations are now required to file unaudited financial statements with the Chief Electoral Officer.