I recently happened upon an article about a Canadian campaign financing loophole that was written in 2007.
The Globe and Mail reported yesterday that Elections Canada cannot track or cross-check donations to riding associations of less than $200. As a result, a donor could send dozens of contributions to riding associations that, put together, widely exceed the legal limit of $1,100 a year.
With 308 ridings across the country, a series of $199.99 cheques to each one would total $61,596.92, and could go undetected.
Apparently this loophole became a thing in 2003 under the Liberal government but the Tories have refused to close it up. I was a little unsure if, in the 4 years since that article had been published, the loophole might have been closed. I wanted to be sure I understood this:
In the nomination contestant’s return, the financial agent must disclose the name and address of any contributor who makes an aggregate contribution to the nomination contestant in excess of $200, and the amount and date on which each contribution was received.
take from here so I ended up emailing Elections Canada to get the definitive word:
…only donations of more than $200 need to be included in the return of a candidate, political party, third party or registered association…
So yes, the loophole still exists. So, the next time you’re told about the wonderful merits of the Federal Accountability Act, be sure to bring this up as it is it paints a much different picture of the potential for influence peddling at the federal level.