Canada--2013 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report

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On May 30, 2013, the FDA will host a webinar on the 2013 Canada Electoral Fairness Report. To register for the webinar, go to this url:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5418267208238649088

Executive Summary of the 2013 Canada Electoral Report

The Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) concludes that the Canadian federal electoral system is mediocre as determined by the overall unsatisfactory passing audit score of 64.49 percent (out of 100 percent). FDA auditors measured

1) Failing score for legislation pertaining to media election coverage (47.35 percent).
2) Unsatisfactory score for legislation pertaining to candidates and parties
(58.93 percent).
3) Satisfactory score for legislation pertaining to voters (73.52 percent).
4) Very satisfactory score for legislation pertaining to electoral finance
(78.15 percent).

In its analysis, the FDA factored in 32 independent variables, matrix examination, and financial analysis to inform calculations and conclusions. Based on its measurements, the FDA believes that Canadian federal election outcomes are not truly reflective of the voice of Canadians from electoral constituencies. Although there is sound legislation relating to voters and electoral finance, various provisions concerning candidates, parties, and media function to favour certain large and established parties over new and small parties and even other large and established parties. The FDA identified several elements in the Canadian electoral system that, when combined, undermine significantly electoral competition and thereby election outcomes. The FDA believes that the degree of electoral competition is an indication of the health of a democracy, and competition whether in the marketplace or elections produces the better societal outcome. Therefore, the FDA recommends a number of reforms to the Canadian electoral system that would eliminate biased electoral legislation and uncompetitive electoral processes.

“If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in government to the utmost.”
- Aristotle

About the Foundation for Democratic Advancement

The Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) is an international independent, non-partisan democracy organization. The FDA’s mission is

to measure, study, and communicate the impact of government processes on a free and democratic society.

Overall, the FDA works
1. to ensure that people become more knowledgeable about the outcomes of government processes and can then make decisions that are more informed;
2. to get people involved in monitoring government processes at all levels of government and in providing sound, practical, and effective suggestions. (For more information on the FDA visit: www.democracychange.org)

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Canada--2013 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit Report

  1. 1. 2013 FDA Global Electoral Fairness Audit of theCanadian Federal Electoral SystemElectoral Fairness Audit Completed May 27, 2013Revised Recommendations on May 28, 2013Executive SummaryThe Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) concludes that the Canadianfederal electoral system is mediocre as determined by the overall unsatisfactory passingaudit score of 64.49 percent (out of 100 percent). FDA auditors measured1) Failing score for legislation pertaining to media election coverage (47.35 percent).2) Unsatisfactory score for legislation pertaining to candidates and parties(58.93 percent).3) Satisfactory score for legislation pertaining to voters (73.52 percent).4) Very satisfactory score for legislation pertaining to electoral finance(78.15 percent).In its analysis, the FDA factored in 32 independent variables, matrix examination, andfinancial analysis to inform calculations and conclusions. Based on its measurements,the FDA believes that Canadian federal election outcomes are not truly reflective of thevoice of Canadians from electoral constituencies. Although there is sound legislationrelating to voters and electoral finance, various provisions concerning candidates,parties, and media function to favour certain large and established parties over new andsmall parties and even other large and established parties. The FDA identified severalelements in the Canadian electoral system that, when combined, underminesignificantly electoral competition and thereby election outcomes. The FDA believesthat the degree of electoral competition is an indication of the health of a democracy,and competition whether in the marketplace or elections produces the better societaloutcome. Therefore, the FDA recommends a number of reforms to the Canadianelectoral system that would eliminate biased electoral legislation and uncompetitiveelectoral processes.“If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found indemocracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in governmentto the utmost.”- Aristotle
  2. 2. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 2 of 82Prepared ByMr. Stephen Garvey, Executive Director Foundation for Democratic Advancement, Bachelor ofArts in Political Science, University of British Columbia and Master of Philosophy inEnvironment and Development, University of Cambridge.Peer Review ByMr. Nick Brown, Diploma Public Relations, University of London, Diploma Internet & MultimediaInformation Systems, South Bank University, Bachelor of Science, University of London,and Masters of Science, Geography, Kingston University;Mr. Steve Finley, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Purdue University, Master ofBusiness Administration, Indiana University, and Juris Doctor, Valparaiso University;Ms. Lindsay Tetlock, Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Master of Arts in HistoricalStudies, University of Calgary.Purpose of the Canadian Electoral Fairness AuditThe purpose of the Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA)‘s electoral fairness audit (the―Audit‖) is to determine a comprehensive grade for Canadian federal electoral fairness. In addition,the FDA seeks to further establish benchmarks for electoral fairness, identify areas of democraticadvancement and progression, and encourage democracy reform where needed.The goal of the FDAs Canadian electoral fairness report is to give the people of Canada and otherstakeholders an informed, objective, non-partisan perspective of the Canadian federal electoralsystem and provide recommendations for reform.The views in this electoral fairness audit are the views of the FDA only. The FDA‘s members andvolunteers are in no way affiliated with Elections Canada or any of the Canadian registered/non-registered political parties. The Audit is an independent assessment based on objectivity,transparency, and non-partisanship. The FDA assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors inthe measurement and calculation of its audit results or inaccuracies in its research of relevantCanadian legislation.About the Foundation for Democratic AdvancementThe Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) is an international independent, non-partisandemocracy organization. The FDA‘s mission isto measure, study, and communicate the impact of government processes on a free anddemocratic society.
  3. 3. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 3 of 82Overall, the FDA works1. to ensure that people become more knowledgeable about the outcomes of governmentprocesses and can then make decisions that are more informed;2. to get people involved in monitoring government processes at all levels of governmentand in providing sound, practical, and effective suggestions. (For more information onthe FDA visit: www.democracychange.org)To ensure its objectivity and independence, the FDA does not conduct privately paid research.However, if you or your organization has an important research idea or are aware of an importantissue on government processes, the FDA is available to listen to your idea or issue and possibly helpraise public awareness by initiating and leading change through report research and analysis. Pleasecontact the FDA at (403) 669-8132 or email us at info@democracychange.org for more information.An online version of this report can be found at: www.democracychange.orgFor further information and/or comments on this report please contact Mr. Stephen Garvey atstephen.garvey@democracychange.org
  4. 4. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 4 of 82Table of ContentsIntroduction 4How to Read the Report 5Chapter 1: Electoral Finance Audit Results 8Analysis 19Chapter 2: Media Election Coverage Audit Results 21Analysis 27Chapter 3: Candidates and Parties Audit Results 28Analysis 49Chapter 4: Voters Audit Results 51Analysis 62Chapter 5: Overall Audit Results 63Chapter 6: Analysis 64Chapter 7: Conclusion & Recommendations 69References 73Appendix: Research & Audit Methodologies 78FDA Research and Audit Teams 84
  5. 5. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 5 of 82IntroductionThe FDA based its audit of Canadian‘s federal electoral legislation on non-partisanship andobjectivity.The FDA audit process entails three major components:1) Research of Canadians federal electoral legislation and any related legislation and documents.2) Audit of the legislation based on audit team consensus, the FDA‘s matrices, financialspreadsheets, and scoring scales.3) Analysis of findings.The FDA bases its matrix scoring scales on the fundamental democratic principles of legislativeneutrality, political freedom, and political fairness, and the comparative impact of variables ondemocracy. For example, if there is no electoral finance transparency it will affect other variablessuch as legislative process. Without financial transparency, it is near impossible to enforcereasonably electoral finance laws, which prevent and uncover electoral finance wrongdoing.Consequently, according to the FDA‘s matrices, a zero score for financial transparency will result ina zero score for legislative process as well.The FDA‘s research component is purely objective, based on a compilation of legislativeinformation and financial data for the Canadian system and any related findings based in fact andsound empirical research.The FDA‘s audit component is both objective and subjective. It is objective when determining yesand no facts, such as does country ―A‖ have caps on electoral contributions—yes or no? It issubjective because of the predetermined scores for each audit section, and the scores determined foreach section. The FDA acknowledges that there is no absolute scoring system or determination ofscores.The FDA minimizes subjectivity through its non-partisanship position and by basing scoring onlegislative research, financial calculations, and team audit consensus. The FDA scoring scales foreach section of the audit derive from consensus of the FDA auditors and survey results of relevantacademic and professional persons, and core democratic concepts such as electoral legislativeneutrality and political freedom and fairness. Finally, the FDA requires a minimum quorum of fiveexperienced auditors during audit sessions. For further discussion of the FDA methodology, pleasesee the Appendix on page 74.The FDA is a registered non-profit corporation, and therefore it cannot issue tax-deductible receipts.In addition, the FDA is the sole funder of this report. As a policy to maintain its independence andobjectivity, the FDA does not conduct privately funded research projects. The FDA relies ondonations. If you value this report, please consider donating to the Foundation for DemocraticAdvancement to help cover the costs of producing this report and communicating its content to thestakeholders, and to continue its work in Alberta, Canada, and abroad.
  6. 6. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 6 of 82How to Read the ReportChapters 1 to 4 focus on the four sections of the FDA‘s audit of the Canadian federal electoralsystem. These chapters are formatted in the following manner1) Chapter summary and table of audit results for the section.2) Audit questions, legislative research and audit findings on each audit subsection.3) Analysis of audit measurements and findings for the section.Chapter 6, ‗Overall Analysis‘, pertains to the measurements and findings from all four auditsections.Definition of Key TermsThe Foundation for Democratic Advancement characterized the following definitionsCandidates and parties (audit section three)The opportunity and ability of candidates and parties to campaign in the public domain for electedpositions. This opportunity and ability occur before, during, and after an election period. Candidatesand parties may involve election content of media, electoral finance, and voters (as defined below).In the terms of the FDA electoral fairness audit, which focuses on electoral process, candidates andparties include:1) Registrations requirements for candidates and parties.2) Laws on candidates‘ and parties‘ access to media and reasonable opportunity to takeadvantage of the access.3) Regulations on access to major debates.4) Electoral complaints process for candidates and partiesIn the FDA electoral fairness audit, candidates and parties only encompasses laws, regulations,procedures etc. that affect the influence of candidates and parties. For example, candidates andparties does not encompass laws on electoral complaints by voters nor does it encompass laws onvoter assistance at polling booths.Electoral fairnessThe impartiality and equality of election law before, during, and after an election period. In thecontext of the audit, electoral fairness involves concepts relating to election content in the media,candidates and parties, electoral finance, and voters. In particular, this includes evaluatingimpartiality and balance of political content in the media, equitable opportunity and ability forregistered candidates and parties to influence voters and government, equitable electoral financelaws, and equitable opportunity and ability for voters to voice political views and/or influence theoutcome of an election.
  7. 7. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 7 of 82Electoral fairness does not allow bias through, for example, legislation that gives a distinct electoraladvantage to one registered party over another, or laws that allow equitable access to media withoutfacilitating equal opportunity to take advantage of this access. In contrast, electoral fairness wouldinclude a broad, balanced diffusion of electoral propaganda by registered political parties during thecampaign period, equal campaign finances (beyond equal expenditure limits) for all registeredparties according to the number of candidates endorsed, and the registration of parties based onreasonable popular support (rather than financial deposit or unreasonable popular support).Electoral fairness in any democratic process must include an equal playing field for registered partiesand candidates, distinguishable by voters according to a clear political platform, and a broad andbalanced political discourse in where information about electoral choices are clear and available tothe voting public.Electoral finance (audit section one)Electoral finance laws applied to registered candidates and parties before, during, and after anelection period. Electoral finance also encompasses campaign finance which is restricted to thecampaign period.In the context of the FDA electoral fairness audit, electoral finance includes:1) Caps on electoral contributions (or the lack of).2) Caps on candidate and party electoral expenditures (or the lack of).3) Procedures for financial disclosure and reporting of candidate and party electoral finances.4) Procedures for the handling of electoral contributions by registered candidatesand parties.Electoral finance does not include non-financial laws, regulations, procedures etc. such as thoserelating to candidate and party access to media, civil rights laws such as freedom of speech andassembly, rules on right of reply in the media, laws on the election content of media, and laws onvoter assistance.Special interest-based democracyA system in where either individual or corporate interests dictate government action and factionswith the most economic and political power in society influence policies and legislation. Theelectoral system is set up to allow special and minority interests to impact election outcomesprimarily through electoral finance and media access and exposure.People-based democracyA system where power is invested in the people and the population as a whole influence governmentpolicies and legislation. The electoral system is set up in a fair and equitable manner so that allcitizens, within reason, have an opportunity to influence the election outcome to the same degree.
  8. 8. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 8 of 82Media election coverage (audit section two)The political content of radio and television broadcasters, the printed press, and their onlinecomponents during election periods. This content may include news stories, editorials, articles,programs, and group analysis and discussion. It does not include electoral advertisements bycandidates, parties, and third parties. Electoral advertisements by candidates and parties are includedin candidates and parties, and electoral advertisements by third parties are included in voters andelectoral finance.In the context of FDA electoral fairness audit, election coverage of media includes:1) Registration requirements for television and radio broadcast companies and press companies.2) Laws on the ownership concentration of media (or the lack of).3) Laws on the election content of media before, during, and after a campaign period.4) Laws on freedom of the press and broadcasters.The FDA defines ―balance‖ in the media as having equal political content of all registered politicalparties presented during the election period. Voters should receive balanced information on allregistered candidates and parties in order for election outcomes to reflect the will of the majority.The FDA does not support the idea that incumbent or previously successful parties should befavoured in media coverage in a current election as this could create bias based merely on pastresults, and potentially weaken the process of capturing the will of the people in the present. Inaddition, the FDA does not support unlimited freedom of broadcast and press media and believesthere is a misleading connection between this and democracy. The purpose of democratic elections isto capture as accurately as possible the will of the people from districts. Broad and balancedelectoral discourse creates an informed electorate and supports the will of the people. The FDAconcedes that media ownership concentration laws aimed to produce pluralistic ownership couldcancel out any imbalance in political content and provide equitable coverage of all registeredpolitical parties.Voters (audit section four)The citizens who are eligible to vote and their opportunity to express that vote and a political voicethrough articles, letters to editors, blogs, advertisements, spoken word etc. in the public domain.Voter influence applies to the period before, during, and after an election.In the context of the FDA electoral fairness audit, which focuses on electoral process, voters include:1) Laws and regulations on freedom of speech and assembly.2) Laws on the registration requirements for voters.3) Laws on voter assistance at the polling booth.4) Laws on the inclusion of minorities in the electoral process.In the context of the FDA electoral fairness audit, voters may be impacted by the election content ofmedia, and candidates and parties and electoral finance law. For example, no cap on contributions tocandidates and parties will affect voters because no cap favors voters with more financial wealth,and thereby the lack of cap creates electoral inequity and imbalance among voters.
  9. 9. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 9 of 82Chapter One: Electoral FinanceThis chapter focuses on Canadian electoral finance laws and the FDAs audit of them in terms ofelectoral fairness. Based on the political concepts of egalitarianism and political liberalism, the FDAteam audits electoral finance laws according to their equity for registered candidates, parties, andvoters (see Definition of Key Terms and Research Methodology for further explanation). The FDAteam audits from the standpoint of a peoples representative democracy. Table 1 below shows theFDA‘s audit variables, their corresponding audit weights, and results:Table 1 Electoral Finance Audit Scores and PercentagesElectoral FinanceSection Variables% SubsectionAudit WeightNumericalSubsection AuditWeightAuditResults% ResultsElectoral FinanceTransparency20% 2.0 2.0 100%Contributions toCandidates & Parties15% 1.5 1.25 83.3%Caps on Contributionsto Candidates & Parties20% 2.0 1.61 80.5%Campaign ExpenditureLimits22.5% 2.25 1.5 66.6%Caps on Third-partyExpenditures12.5% 1.25 0.005 0.4%Legislative Process 10% 1.0 1.0 100%Variables from OtherSectionsn/a n/a n/a n/aTotal 100% 10 7.815 78.15%The FDA chose these subsections because they represent core areas of electoral finance. The audit ofelectoral finance includes examination of Canadian electoral finance legislation and the applicationof legislative research to the FDA matrices. Matrix scoring is based on an overall score of 0 to 10 outof 10.What follows are the audit questions, legislative research, and audit findings:Electoral Finance TransparencyAudit Questions1) Are candidate and party finances transparent to the public?2) Are candidate and party finances transparent to candidates and parties only?3) Are candidate and party finances transparent to the government only?
  10. 10. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 10 of 82Legislative ResearchThe Chief Electoral Officer shall publish the original election expenses return of registered partiesand electoral campaign returns of candidates with one year of writ of election, and publish anyupdated versions of the returns as soon as practicably after he or she receives them (Elections Act,Article 412(1)).The Chief Electoral Officer shall publish the returns on financial transactions of registered partiesand associations, and any updated versions (Elections Act, Article 412(2)(a)).The Chief Electoral Officer shall publish the leadership returns and contribution returns forleadership contestants, and any updated versions (Elections Act, Article 412(2)(b)).The Chief Electoral Officer shall publish the returns of nomination contestants, and any updatedversions (Elections Act, Article 412(2)(c)).The Chief Electoral Officer shall publish a summary report or updated reports of candidates‘ electionexpenses (Elections Act, Article 412(3)).Within six months of becoming registered, a party will provide the Chief Electoral Officer with astatement of their current assets and liabilities, as of the day prior to their effective registration. Theparty must also provide a declaration by the chief agent of the party concerning the statement, and areport from the partys auditor containing the auditors opinion of whether the information is basedon standard accounting principles (Elections Act, Article 372).Registered political parties must submit to the Chief Electoral Officer an audited return of electionexpenses within six months after the Election Day (Elections Act, 429(3)).Registered political parties have to submit annual fiscal returns within six months of the end of thefiscal period (June 30) (Elections Act, 424(4)). The fiscal returns must contain all financialtransactions for the registered party; the auditor‘s report on the financial transactions; and the chiefagent‘s declaration of the financial transactions (Elections Act, 424(1)).Both of the above reports contain a variety of information; including, the total contributions receivedby the registered party and the number of contributors; the name and address of each contributorwho contributed more than $200 and the date the registered party received the funds; and a statementof assets, liabilities, revenue, and expenses (Elections Act, 424(2)(a)-(k)).The returning officers for electoral districts shall make available the financial disclosures ofcandidates to public upon request for six months during reasonable times for public inspection.Copies can be obtained for fee of 0.25 cents per page (Elections Act, 413(1), (2)). A returning officershall retain financial disclosures for three years after the six month time period for public inspection(Elections Act, Article 413(3)).The Chief Electoral Officer shall publish a list of claims that are deemed to be contributions(Elections Act, Article 423(4)).
  11. 11. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 11 of 82An unpaid claim mentioned in the financial transactions return referred to in subsection 424(1) or inan election expenses return referred to in subsection 429(1) that remains unpaid in whole or in parton the day that is 18 months after the end of the fiscal period to which the return relates or in whichthe polling day fell, as the case may be, is deemed to be a contribution to the registered party of theunpaid amount on the day on which the expense was incurred (Elections Act, Article 423.1 (1)).Candidates must submit to the Chief Electoral Officer an audited election expense report within fourmonths of the polling day, or after a published notice of withdrawal or deemed withdrawal from theelection (Elections Act, 451(4)).Electoral campaign returns need to include: a statement of election and campaign expenses;statements regarding disputed or unpaid claims; statement of contributions; the number ofcontributors; and the name and address if the contribution was more than $200 (Elections Act,451(2)(a)-(k)).Candidates must also report all gifts or other advantages that exceed $500 individually or as a totalfrom the same contributor to the Chief Electoral Officer except if given by a relative (Elections Act,92.2(3)). This statement of gifts is due within four months of the polling day, or after a publishednotice of withdrawal or deemed withdrawal from the election (Elections Act, 92.2(5)).Audit FindingsThe financial transactions, records, and reports of candidates and parties are transparent to thepublic.Contributions to Candidates and PartiesAudit Questions1) Are contributions restricted to citizens?2) Are contributions disallowed by foreigners, public institutions, and charities?3) Are anonymous contributions set at a reasonable level?Legislative ResearchOnly Canadian citizens or permanent residents may make contributions to registered candidates,parties, associations, and leadership and nomination contestants (Elections Act, Article 404(1)).Electoral campaign returns need to include: a statement of election and campaign expenses;statements regarding disputed or unpaid claims; statement of contributions; the number ofcontributors; and the name and address if the contribution was more than $200 (Elections Act,451(2)(a)-(k)).Both of the above reports contain a variety of information; including, the total contributions receivedby the registered party and the number of contributors; the name and address of each contributor
  12. 12. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 12 of 82who contributed more than $200 and the date the registered party received the funds; and a statementof assets, liabilities, revenue, and expenses (Elections Act, 424(2)(a)-(k)).Canadian citizens and permanent residents cannot make cash contributions that exceed $20.00(Elections Act, Article 405.31).Any person who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident is disallowed from inducing electorsto vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate (Elections Act,Article 331).Audit FindingsThe FDA auditors awarded near full marks for the above three subsections because contributions arerestricted to citizens whereas foreigners, public institutions and corporations are not allowed tocontribute. They subtracted points, however, because the maximum anonymous contribution limit is$200.00, which is more than double the FDA standard of maximum anonymous contribution of$100.00 (determined by mean national income and benchmarks of Canadian provinces and foreigncountries). The FDA assumes that a relatively low amount for anonymous contributions helps toprevent electoral finance wrongdoing.Caps on Contributions to Candidates and PartiesAudit Questions1) Are the caps on candidates and parties contributions reflective of per capita net income level?2) Are the caps on candidates own contributions reflective of per capita net income level?Legislative ResearchThe 2010 Canadian disposable per capita income is $26,572 (Economic Statistics Report, 2012).Individuals are disallowed from making contributions in excess of $1,000 in total for any calendaryear to a registered party (Elections Act, Article 405 (1)(a)).Individuals are disallowed from making contributions in excess of $1,000 in total for any calendaryear to registered associations, nomination contestants and candidates of a particular registered party(Elections Act, Article 405 (1)(a.1)).Individuals are disallowed from making contributions in excess of $1,000 in total for a particularelection to candidates who are not member of a registered party (Elections Act, Article 405 (1)(b)).Individuals are disallowed from making contributions in excess of $1,000 in total to the leadershipcontestants of a particular leadership contest (Elections Act, Article 405 (1)(c)).
  13. 13. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 13 of 82Contributions to candidates seeking the endorsement of a particular registered party or contributionsto candidates not endorsed by a particular party shall be deemed contributions (Elections Act, 405(3)).Contributions to own campaign that do not exceed $1,000 in total by a nomination candidate orcandidate of registered party shall not deemed a contribution (Elections Act, 405 (4)).Contributions to own campaign that do not exceed $1,000 in total by an independent candidate shallnot deemed a contribution (Elections Act, 405 (4)).Contributions to own campaign that do not exceed $1,000 in total by a candidate of registered partyfor leadership contest shall not deemed a contribution (Elections Act, 405 (4)).The total individual contributions allowed in an election year are around $4,000 and total candidatecontributions are around $5,000 to $6,000 (Elections Act, Article 405).Contribution caps are subject to adjustment for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index,calculated on the basis of 1992 being equal to 100 and denominator of 119, which is the averageannual Consumer Price Index. Adjustments are rounded off to the nearest one hundred dollars(Elections Act, 405.1 (1)).Audit FindingsThe FDA awarded points for caps on candidate and party contributions during the campaign period.Through consensus and Desjardins‘ household budget calculator, the FDA determined that 10percent of per capita net income is a reasonable maximum contribution amount (Determine HowMuch to Allocate to Each Expense, 2013). The 10 percent contribution amount takes intoconsideration other expenditures such as housing, food, services like hydro and heat, clothing, andhealth. The caps for candidate and party contributions ($4,000 over four years) are set significantlylower than the 10 percent of the Canadian per capita net income threshold ($10,608 over four years).The limit on contributions by candidates to their own campaigns in an election year ($5,500) is inexcess of the FDA‘s maximum cap of $2,652 (in a year). The score of 1.25 and 0.36 reflect thisassessment.Campaign Expenditure LimitsAudit Questions1) If there are campaign expenditure limits on candidates and parties, are they set high enough andstill reasonably attainable by all registered candidates and parties?2) If there are public subsidies or other financial instruments, do they create an equal level ofcampaign finances for candidates and parties?Legislative ResearchThe 2010 Canadian disposable per capita income is $26,572 (Economic Statistics Report, 2012).
  14. 14. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 14 of 82Candidate electoral expense limits are based on the amount calculated for an electoral district andsubject to inflation adjustment (Elections Act, Article 440).Elections Canada determines electoral expenditure limits for electoral districts based on:1) the preliminary lists of electors in a district:a) $2.07 for each of the first 15,000 electors,b) $1.04 for each of the next 10,000 electors; andc) $0.52 for each of the remaining electors (Elections Act, Articles 441(1)(a), 441(3)).If the number of electors on the preliminary list of electors is less than the average number ofelectors on all preliminary lists of electors in a general election, then in making the calculationabove, the number of electors is deemed to be half-way between the number on the preliminary listand the average number (Elections Act, 441(4)).If a candidate whose nomination is endorsed by a registered party dies at the period beginning 2:00p.m. on the 5thday of the closing day for nominations and ending on polling day, then the baseelectoral expenditure amount for the district is increased by 50 percent (Elections Act, 441(2)).If the number of electors per square kilometer is less than 10 electors, then the amount calculatedabove is increased by the lesser of $0.31 per square kilometer and 25 percent of that amount(Elections Act, Article 441(6)).1) the revised lists of electors in a district:a) $2.07 for each of the first 15,000 electors;b) $1.04 for each of the next 10,000 electors; andc) $0.52 for each of the remaining electors (Elections Act, Article 441(7)).If the number of electors on the revised list of electors is less than the average number of electors onall revised lists of electors in a general election, then in making the calculation above, the number ofelectors is deemed to be half-way between the number on the revised list and the average number(Elections Act, 441(8)).If the number of electors per square kilometer is less than 10 electors on the revised list of electors,then the amount calculated above is increased by the lesser of $0.31 per square kilometer and 25percent of that amount (Elections Act, Article 441(10)).Candidates cannot exceed the electoral expenditure limits for their electoral district, and candidatesor official agents of candidates or other authorized persons cannot collude in order to circumventelectoral expenditure limits (Elections Act, Articles 443(1), 443(2)).The Chief Electoral Officer determines for each quarter an allowance payable to a registered partywhose candidates received either 2 percent of the popular vote or 5 percent of the valid votes cast inthe electoral districts of the candidates endorsed by the party in for the most recent general election(Elections Act, 435.01(1)(a)-(b)).
  15. 15. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 15 of 82The quarterly allowance is the multiplication of the valid votes cast in the most recent generalelection by $0.3825 for 2012; $0.255 for 2013; and $0.1275 for 2014. All quarters begin on April 1st(Elections Act, 435.01(2)(a)-(c)).The Conservative government revised the federal budget to phase out the public subsidies for federalpolitical parties beginning April 1st2012 (Smith, J, July 4, 2012).The annual subsidy was lowered from $2.04 in 2011 to $1.53 per vote in 2012 and will be furtherreduced each year on April 1stuntil it is eliminated in 2015 (Smith, J, July 4 2012).If a registered party receives 2 percent of the votes cast in the election or 5 percent of the numbervotes cast in the electoral district in which the part endorsed a candidate, then 50 percent of theparties‘ electoral expenses are refunded (Elections Canada, Article 435 (1)).Audit FindingsIn each Canadian electoral district, there is an average of 78,758 voters with income. Candidatesneed 0.881 cents from each elector to attain the maximum legal expenditure limit. The averagemaximum expenditure limit amounts to $69,385.80. According to FDA consensus and Desjardins‘household budget calculator, $2,652 is the maximum available from each elector making the totalavailable at $208,866,216. On average there are approximately eight candidates per riding, ergo,there is $555,232 funds needed. According to these calculations, there are potential excess funds of$208,310,984, and therefore the expenditure limit is reasonably attainable in terms of funds by allregistered candidates and parties. Whether or not voters want to contribute to all registeredcandidates and parties is a separate issue.Using their professional judgment and considering for example campaign advertising expenses andvenue expenses, FDA auditors determine that $69,385.80 is a reasonable amount of electoral fundsto campaign in a district of 78,758 voters, and with no candidate above $69,385.80 expenditure limit.Public subsidies are only available for parties with at least one seat in parliament, and thereforecreate more financial inequality rather than equality between all registered parties.Caps on Third-party SpendingAudit Questions1) If there is third-party spending, is it restricted to citizens only?2) If there are caps on third-party spending, are they high enough and reasonably attainable by alladult citizens?3) Are there public subsidies, or other financial instruments, that create an equitable level of third-party spending?
  16. 16. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 16 of 82Legislative ResearchThe total expenses limit for election advertising for third parties is $197,100 and the expenses limitper electoral district is $3,942 for the period from April 1 2012 to March 31 2013 (Limit on ElectionAdvertising Incurred by Third Parties, 2012). Such limits include advertising to either ―promote oroppose the election‖ (Election Advertising Expenses, 2012; Elections Act, Articles 350, 414).In order for a third party to determine to which limit it is subject ($3,942 or $197,100) it needs toconsider its particular situation. For instance, if an average person remarks that certain advertisingrefers ―one or more specific candidates in a given riding,‖ the limit would be $3,942 (Questions andAnswers about Third Party Advertising, 2010). On the other hand, if a third party is involved in anadvertising campaign relevant to a registered political party, and if an average person recognizessuch ―advertising is aimed at a national, regional or provincial audience,‖ the limit is $197,100(Questions and Answers about Third Party Advertising, 2010).Assuming that the advertising campaign aims at promoting or opposing several candidates inmultiple ridings, the limit of $3,942 is multiplied by the amount of ridings until it reaches the limit of$197,100 (Elections Act, Articles 319, 350, 414). Also noteworthy is that for third party spending of$5,000 or over, an external auditor must be appointed (Questions and Answers about Third PartyAdvertising, 2010).Foreign donations are not satisfactory, including from individuals who are not citizens or permanentresidents, foreign organizations not conducting business activities in Canada, trade unions withoutbargaining rights in Canada, or foreign political parties and governments (Elections Act, Article358).The FDA researchers found no public subsidies or other financial instruments for third-partyexpenditures.Audit FindingsCorporations, labor unions, and citizens can contribute to campaign election campaigns, parties, andcandidates. The limit is set at $197,100, which, according to FDA consensus, is about 74 times morethan the 10 percent of per capita net income ($2,652 over one year) available for citizen personalexpenditure. The FDA acknowledges that $197,100 is a reasonable and likely cost for a nationaladvertising campaign; however, third-party spending for this can affect public opinion in a non-democratic way. The FDA believes that contributions to candidates, parties, and party associationsshould fund these advertising campaigns, which would then create the basis to eliminate third-partyexpenditures. Finally, electoral law does not mandate public subsidies for third-party expenditures.Legislative ProcessAudit Question1) Is there an effective legislative process to enforce electoral finance laws?
  17. 17. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 17 of 82Legislative ResearchThe Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), appointed by the House of Commons, is responsible for thesupervision, direction, and conduct of the federal election. The CEO must enforce the provisions ofand ensure compliance with the Elections Act and other legislation pertaining to the election(Elections Act, Article 13(1) (2); Article 16).During the election period and for thirty days following polling day, the CEO may adapt theseprovisions in order to manage electoral emergencies (Elections Act, Article 17).The CEO can educate the public about federal elections, the democratic process, and electoral rightsand regulations using any media forum or communication s/he considers appropriate (Elections Act,Article 18(1) (2)).The Elections Act outlines various prohibitions that are subject to penalty. For example, one cannotdisclose information about an electors vote, interfere with an elector while voting, make falsestatements while applying for registration as a candidate, party, or voter, or prevent or persuade anelector from voting through intimidation or duress (Elections Act, Article 281-282).The Commissioner of Canada Elections, appointed by the CEO, ensures compliance andenforcement of the Act. If the CEO believes an offense has occurred, s/he directs the Commissionerto proceed with an inquiry. If after this inquiry the Commissioner believes that an offense hasoccurred, s/he refers the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who then decides to initiate aprosecution. The CEO informs both the Commissioner and the Director throughout the process. Theoffense can be prosecuted no later than 5 years after the Commissioner was made aware of thematter and no longer than 10 years of when it occurred (Elections Act, Articles 509-511, 512, 514).Other obstructions of the election process that demand penalty include: disrupting or incitingdisorder at public meetings intended for election purposes, offering or accepting a bribe in order toinfluence a vote, unauthorized use of personal information in the elector register, an employer notallowing reasonable time for employees to vote, and unauthorized ballot printing (Elections Act,Article 480-482; Elections Act, Table of Offences, 2000).Contraventions of the Act are subject to strict liability offences. Summary convictions range from afine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for no longer than three months or both, $2,000 or sixmonths imprisonment or both, to $5,000 and a year imprisonment or both, depending on intent. Forregistered parties and third parties, fines can reach $25,000 and imprisonment of five years or both(Elections Act, Article 500).Upon conviction, and depending on the nature and intent of the offense, additional penalties mightinclude community service, financial compensation to those who suffered damages because of afinancial contravention, party deregistration and asset liquidation, or whatever reasonable measurethe court finds appropriate (Elections Act, Article 501(1) (2)).The Act differentiates illegal or corrupt practices from general contraventions of electoral law. Theseapply in particular to candidates and agents of candidates who breach provisions including, but notlimited to, publishing false statements regarding the inclusion or withdrawal of another candidate;
  18. 18. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 18 of 82foreign broadcasting; exceeding limits on election expenses; and purposefully obstructing thedemocratic process (Elections Act, Article 502; Elections Act, Table of Offences, 2000).Some offenses, including but not limited to, offering or accepting a bribe to influence an elector;intentionally preventing public meetings related to election; intimidation or duress of an elector;knowingly voting more than once or without being qualified; obstruction of election officer; or if anelection officer does not return election documents and materials, are subject to a $5,000 fine, a fiveyear imprisonment, or both (Elections Act, Table of Offences, 2000).Third parties that contravene the Act are liable on conviction of fines ranging from $10,000 to$25,000 (Elections Act, Article 505).If a candidate or party agent knowingly makes or publishes false statements about a candidate;accepts unauthorized contributions; fails to provide complete and accurate financial statements to theCEO within the required period; exceeds contribution limits; or forges a ballot in any way with theintention of influencing the elector, the penalty is a $5,000 fine, five year imprisonment, or both. Inaddition, the CEO can de-register a party and liquidate its assets (Elections Act, Table of Offences,2000).The penalty for exceeding election advertising expense limits is $1,000, three months imprisonmentor both; however, the penalty for liable third parties is a fine of up to five times the amount spentover the limit. The penalty for the chief agent that fails to identify the party and candidate inadvertisements, uses foreign contributions, willfully exceeds the election expense limit, submitsincomplete, false, or late documents, or does not claim all contributions etc. is a $1,000 fine, threemonth imprisonment, or both. The registered party conducting these infractions is liable for a$25,000 fine (Elections Act, Table of Offences, 2000).Audit FindingsThe FDA auditors use professional judgment on the score regarding reasonable legislative processesto enforce electoral finance laws. The FDA auditors identified a comprehensive and effectivelegislative process to enforce electoral finance laws, including fines reflective of the severity of theoffense, prison terms of up to five years, and detailed investigation, trial, and appeal processes.Total score for the electoral fairness on electoral finance: 78.15 percent out of 100 percent.
  19. 19. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 19 of 82Electoral Finance AnalysisThe FDA measured a very satisfactory score of 78.15 percent for Canadian federal electoral financelegislation. Auditors identified a strong process for financial transparency, enforcement, andlimitations on contributions to candidates and parties by citizens. However, the inequality of publicsubsidies to registered parties, caps on third-party expenditure that are grossly inconsistent with percapita net income, and the inclusion of corporations and trade unions in third-party expenditurepartly offset these positive aspects.The following is a summary of the FDA‘s key findings regarding the Canadian federal electoralfinance laws and their corresponding impact on a free and democratic society:1) Public subsidies are only available to registered political parties whose candidates received either2 percent of the popular vote or 5 percent of the valid votes cast in the electoral districts of thecandidates endorsed by the parties.ImpactIn Canada, public subsidies are available to parties that garnered a certain percentage of thepopular vote in the current election. Due to the level of popular vote required, this practicegenerates financial inequality with new and smaller registered parties. It also produces inequalitybetween parties in the Parliament because the amount of the subsidy is linked to the amount ofpopular vote received. In other words, subsidies favour certain large and established parties,reducing electoral competition and weakening Canadian democracy. The subsidy is scheduled tobe phased out in 2015. In addition, a public subsidy in form of a 50 percent refund of a party‘scampaign expenditures is available if the party attains either 2 percent of the popular vote or 5percent of the valid votes cast in the electoral districts of the candidates endorsed by the party.Again, this public subsidy favours certain large and established parties over other large,established parties (which have lower expenditures) and new and small parties.2) The cap on third-party expenditure is set at $197,100, about 18.6 percent more than Canada‘s percapita net income of $26,572. Through consensus and based on Desjardins‘ household budgetcalculator, the FDA determine that 10 percent of per capita net income or $10,608 (over fouryears) is a reasonable maximum contribution amount (Determine How Much to Allocate to EachExpense, 2013). Therefore, most Canadians could not afford spending more than 5.38 percent ofthe cap.ImpactThe excessively high cap placed on third-party spending favours wealthy, minority interests. Themajority of Canadians cannot afford this spending limit, which allows the minority to have adisproportionate and undue influence on an election and democratic discourse.The FDA acknowledges that $197,100 is a reasonable and likely cost for national advertisingcampaigns; however, third-party spending for this can affect public opinion in a non-democraticway. Therefore, the FDA believes that electoral law should not allow third-party expenditures,
  20. 20. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 20 of 82and instead contributions to candidates, parties, and party associations should fund national anddistrict advertising campaigns.3) Corporations and trade unions can participate in third-party expenditures.ImpactCorporations and trade unions can contribute to campaign election campaigns, parties, andcandidates. However, the excessive cap on third-party expenditures allows these organizationsgreater opportunity to influence an election than the majority of the electorate is able to do. Thisinfluence interferes with the voice of the people as manifest in election discourse, and therebyweakens Canadian democracy.
  21. 21. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 21 of 82Chapter Two: Media Election CoverageThis chapter focuses on Canada‘s media laws and the FDAs audit of them. Based on the concepts ofegalitarianism and political liberalism, the FDA audit team examined media laws according to thestandard of impartial and balanced political coverage before, during and after a campaign period (seeDefinition of Key Terms and Research Methodology for further explanation). Table 2 below showsthe FDA‘s audit variables, their corresponding audit weights, and results:Table 2 Media Election Coverage Audit Scores and PercentagesMedia Election CoverageSection Variables% SubsectionAudit WeightNumericalSubsection AuditWeightAuditResults% ResultsBroad and BalancedMedia Election Coverage30% 3.0 0.0 0.0%Media Ownership 15% 1.5 0.235 15.6%Survey/Polls 5% 0.5 0.5 100%Freedom of Media 40% 4.0 4.0 100%Press Code ofPractice/Conduct10% 1.0 0.0 0.0%Variables from OtherSectionsn/a n/a n/a n/aTotal 100% 10 4.735 47.35%Broad and Balanced Media Election CoverageAudit Questions1) During the campaign period, is the media (private and public) required legally topublish/broadcast broad/balanced coverage of registered candidates and parties?2) Outside of the campaign period, is the media legally required to publish/broadcastpluralistic/balanced coverage of registered parties?3) If the media is legally required to publish/disseminate broad and balanced political coverage, arethere reasonable monitoring and penalty mechanisms in place?Legislative ResearchDuring an election period, electoral law mandates that licensed broadcasters must allocate time for―the broadcasting of programs, advertisements or announcements of a partisan political character onan equitable basis to all accredited political parties and rival candidates represented in the election orreferendum‖ (Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987).The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Act presents theregulations regarding political advertising and broadcasting during an election period. Broadcastersare required to cover Canadian elections and must give all candidates, parties and issues ―equitable‖
  22. 22. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 22 of 82coverage during the campaign period. Equitable does not imply equal, broadcasters must simply take―reasonable‖ steps to present the views and positions of all parties (Public Notice CRTC, 1988).During the election period, broadcasters are responsible for informing the public about the centralissues regarding the election, and should present the positions and platforms of candidates andparties relating to those issues (Public Notice CRTC, 1988).These guidelines pertain to television broadcasters, radio stations, and specialty television serviceslicensed by the CRTC. They do not apply to pay television services or internet communications;therefore, they are not obliged to provide time to political parties, but may do so (BroadcastingGuidelines, 2011).Broadcasters are not required to include all parties or candidates in debate programs during theelection campaign (Public Notice CRTC, 1988).Licensed broadcasters cannot broadcast from outside of Canada during an election period in anymatter regarding the election or in an effort to influence the vote (Elections Act, Article 330(1) (2)).The penalty for broadcasters and network operators that breach the Act during an election period is a$25,000 fine. Offences include but are not limited to: failure to provide the information, results orsponsor of a survey; willfully transmitting election results during the blackout period or prematurely;purposefully failing to make broadcasting time available to authorized parties and candidates;willfully charging more than the lowest rate for broadcasting time or advertising space; willfullyfailing to comply with the allocation of minutes; making additional time available to one party butnot equivalent time to other eligible parties (Elections Act, Table of Offences, 2000).Audit FindingsThe FDA auditors found no legislation requiring the media to provide broad and balanced electioncoverage during the 36-day campaign period or outside of this period. Candidate and partyadvertisement is a separate issue examined in the Candidate and Party section.Media Ownership Concentration LawsAudit Questions1) If there are media concentration laws, are they effective in causing a plurality of politicaldiscourse?2) If there is no legal requirement of media plurality, impartiality, and balanced content or mediaownership concentration laws, are there any other laws that are effective in causing a plurality ofpolitical discourse before and during an election period?Legislative ResearchCanada has a federal competition bureau which is part of Industry Canada. The Competition Bureaumaintains and encourages fair competition in the Canadian marketplace (Competition Bureau, 2013).
  23. 23. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 23 of 82The Canadian Competition Act provides general regulation on uncompetitive practices in theCanadian marketplace such as price fixing, product collusion with competitors, and market collusionwith competitors. The Competition Act does not disallow oligopolies or monopolies (CompetitionAct, 2010).During an election period, electoral law mandates that licensed broadcasters must allocate time for―the broadcasting of programs, advertisements or announcements of a partisan political character onan equitable basis to all accredited political parties and rival candidates represented in the election orreferendum‖ (Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987).The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Act presents theregulations regarding political advertising and broadcasting during an election period. Broadcastersare required to cover Canadian elections and must give all candidates, parties and issues ―equitable‖coverage during the campaign period. Equitable does not imply equal, broadcasters must simply take―reasonable‖ steps to present the views and positions of all parties (Public Notice CRTC, 1988).During the election period, broadcasters are responsible for informing the public about the centralissues regarding the election, and should present the positions and platforms of candidates andparties relating to those issues (Public Notice CRTC, 1988).These guidelines pertain to television broadcasters, radio stations, and specialty television serviceslicensed by the CRTC. They do not apply to pay television services or internet communications;therefore, they are not obliged to provide time to political parties, but may do so (BroadcastingGuidelines, 2011).Broadcasters are not required to include all parties or candidates in debate programs during theelection campaign (Public Notice CRTC, 1988).Audit FindingsThe FDA auditors found no legislation limiting media ownership concentration in Canada. CanadianAntitrust Laws, which aim to provide a remedy against uncompetitive marketplace practices, haveno impact on media ownership concentration unless it derives from anti-competitive conduct.Auditors found that four out of the seventeen registered parties were favoured in media coverageduring the 2011 Canadian Federal General Election. Although there are "equitable" requirements formedia coverage, networks offer parties the option to purchase up to 6.5 hours of broadcast time atregular market price, which not all parties can afford. There are minor penalties (up to $25,000 fine)for offences that explicitly work to restrict media time to specific parties. In addition, media invitedthe leaders of only four of the national parties to participate in the two national debates. The score of0.235 reflects the media bias of the four parties (4 out 17 equals 23.5 percent).
  24. 24. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 24 of 82Surveys/PollsAudit Question1) Are there reasonable public disclosure requirements on surveys and polls in terms of theirmethodology, data, and funder?Legislative ResearchThe first individual to broadcast a survey, as well as any publishing within 24 hours after the initialpublication, must provide the surveys sponsor, conductor, date conducted, sample population andnumber of participants. A margin of error and indication of the use of non-recognized statisticalmethods must also be indicated when applicable. If the survey is transmitted by a means other thanbroadcasting, survey wording and information about obtaining a more detailed report regarding thesurvey must also be provided. A maximum fee of $0.25 may be charged for this report (ElectionsAct, Articles 326, 327).No person may publish a non-previously released survey prior to the closing of polls on polling dayin a given district (Elections Act, Article 328).Audit FindingsThe FDA auditors found comprehensive legislation on public disclosure of the survey and pollinformation including funding sources and methodology.Freedom of the MediaAudit Question1) Does constitutional or legislative law establish freedom of the media (including journalists)?Legislative ResearchThe media can only shoot general footage from the door of polling stations, and must not hindervoters or compromise the secrecy of the vote. This limited access is only allowed if the location issuitable for media set-up (Elections Canada, July 19, 2012).1) ConstitutionalThe Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that everyone has the fundamentalfreedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression; including, freedom of the press and othermedia of communication (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 2(b)).2) LegislativeBroadcast Act
  25. 25. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 25 of 82The Broadcast Act, although Legislative, should be interpreted and applied in a mannerconsistent with the fundamental freedom of expression. Any broadcasting undertakings willenjoy journalistic, creative, and programming independence (Broadcast Act, Article 2(3)).The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the Commission) mayregulate the proportion of time devoted to the broadcasting of programs; including,advertisements or announcements, of a partisan political character. The Commission will assignthe time on an equitable basis to the political parties and candidates (Broadcast Act, Article10(1)(e)).Elections ActThe Commission, at most four days after the announcement of a general election, will prepareand send guidelines describing the applicability of the Broadcast Act to the conduct of alllicensed broadcasters and network operators (Elections Act, Article 347).The Elections Act provides a blackout period for election advertising to the public. The blackoutbegins on polling day and lasts until the close of all the polling stations in the electoral district(Elections Act, Article 323(1)).Audit FindingsThe FDA auditors found nothing in The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or other electionlegislation that would unreasonably limit the freedom of the press.Press Code of Practice/ConductAudit Questions1) Does a Code of Practice/Conduct that supports impartial, balanced electoral coverage guide thepress?2) If a Code of Practice/Conduct that supports impartial, balanced electoral coverage guides thepress, is the Code of Practice/Conduct enforceable?Legislative ResearchCEP Media has a code of ethics but does not provide electoral coverage guidelines (Code of Ethics,2011).The Canadian Journalism Project has ethics for photojournalism but does not provide electoralcoverage guidelines (Burkholder, 2010).The Canadian Association of Journalists does not have specific, electoral coverage guidelines buttheir principles for ethical journalism include reporting on a wide variety of viewpoints and values,reporters do not endorse political candidates or causes, they report the truth to serve democracy,
  26. 26. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 26 of 82inform the public of institutions and people who are elected, freely comment on the activities ofpublicly elected bodies, are careful about getting politically involved in activities, their journalistsmust declare any real or potential conflicts of interest if they choose to become engaged in outsidepolitical activities, and they avoid biases that would affect their reporting (Principles of EthicalJournalism, 2010).The Globe and Mail has a Privacy Policy but it does not include a code of conduct during an electionperiod (Globe Privacy Code, 2012).The Globe and Mail has an Accessibility Policy but it does not include a code of practice during anelection period (Accessibility Policy, 2012).Postmedia Network Canada Corp. has a Code of Business Practice for its subsidiaries (whichincludes the National Post) but the code does not include guidelines for election coverage. AlthoughPostmedia personal are permitted to participate in political activities as private citizens, they may notdo so during their working hours, use Postmedia facilities, or use company funds (Code of BusinessConduct and Ethics, 2011).Audit FindingsThe FDA auditors did not find legislation to mandate broad and balanced election coverage via aCode of Practice/Conduct for the media. Although many private press organizations and newspapersfollow a Code of Practice and/or guidelines for conduct, none of these guidelines includesrequirements for broad and balanced election coverage.Total score for the electoral fairness on media election coverage: 47.35 percent out of 100 percent.
  27. 27. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 27 of 82Media Election Coverage AnalysisFDA auditors measured a failing score of 47.35 percent for Canadian federal legislation relating tomedia election coverage in the media during and in between the 36-day campaign period. Mediaelection coverage received the lowest score of the four audit sections and is the only section toreceive a failing score.There are minimal limitations or checks on freedom of expression in the Canadian media sector. Asa result, this sector operates in a Darwinian-like fashion in where the most powerful mediacorporations have the most influence over public discourse in general and in particular to the FDAexamination, over electoral discourse and outcomes. This practice may generate narrow andimbalanced election coverage and can allow certain minority interests to influence the democraticprocess.The following is a summary of the FDA‘s key findings regarding the Canadian federal media lawsand their corresponding impact on a free and democratic society:1) There is no legislated media requirement for broad and balanced political coverage both duringand outside of the campaign period.ImpactPolitical coverage of candidates and parties both during and outside of an election can be narrowand imbalanced. This system favours certain established, large, or incumbent parties over smalleror new candidates and parties, and as a result, the public lacks information regarding theircomplete electoral choices.2) There are no media ownership concentration laws.ImpactWith no media ownership concentration laws and no requirement for broad and balancedelection coverage, there is the potential for oligopolistic and monopolistic media ownership, andthereby narrow and imbalanced election coverage.3) The Canadian press has no legislated or private code of conduct/practice for broad and balancedcoverage during elections.ImpactPolitical coverage of candidates and parties both during and outside of an election can be narrowand imbalanced. This system favours certain established, large, or incumbent parties over smalleror new candidates and parties, and as a result, the public lacks information regarding theircomplete electoral choices.
  28. 28. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 28 of 82Chapter Three: Candidates and PartiesThis chapter focuses on Canadian laws pertaining to candidates and parties. The FDA audit teamexamines election laws according to their equity for registered candidates and parties (see Definitionof Key Terms and Research Methodology for further explanation). Table 3 below shows the FDA‘saudit variables, their corresponding audit weights, and results:Table 3 Candidates and Parties Audit Scores and PercentagesCandidates & PartiesSection Variables% SubsectionAudit WeightNumericalSubsection AuditWeightAudit Results % ResultsCampaign Period 2% 0.2 0.12 60%Methodology for ElectionWinners2% 0.2 0.0 0.0%Electoral Boundaries 2% 0.2 0.2 100%Process of Government 10% 1.0 0.0 0.0%Registration ofCandidates2% 0.2 0.2 100%Freedom of Expressionand Assembly20% 2.0 2.0 100%Registration of Parties 2% 0.2 0.2 100%Electoral Complaints 3% 0.3 0.3 100%Presentation of Ballots 1% 0.1 0.1 100%Scrutineers 1% 0.1 0.1 100%Candidate and PartyCampaign Advertisement6% 0.6 0.0 0.0%Variables from OtherSections49% 4.9 2.67 54.48%Total 100% 10 5.89 58.93%Campaign PeriodAudit Question1) Does the length of the campaign period reasonably and fairly allow all registered candidates andparties enough time to share their backgrounds and policies with the voting public?Legislative ResearchAn election must be held a minimum of 36 days after a proclamation by the Governor in Council fora general election to be held. Parliament must sit at least once every 12 months (Canadian Charter ofRights and Freedoms, Article 5; Elections Act, Article 57).
  29. 29. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 29 of 82Audit FindingsUsing professional judgment and through consensus, FDA auditors determine that 60 days isadequate time for candidates and parties, including new candidates and parties, to share theirbackgrounds and policies with the voting public. The FDA believes that the length of a campaignperiod should take into account public interest and attention span, the financial resources ofcandidates and parties, and allow sufficient time for new and small parties to inform the public oftheir political platforms. Therefore, the FDA auditors deducted 43.33 percent (or 0.08) from themaximum score of 0.2.Methodology for Determining Winners of DistrictsAudit Questions1) Is the determination of election winners based on first-past-the-post?2) Is the determination of election winners based on proportional representation closed list?3) Is the determination of election winners based on proportional representation open list?Legislative ResearchAccording to the Canada‘s Elections Act, the electoral system in Canada is referred as ―singlemember plurality‖ also known as ―first-past-the-post‖ framework. The aforementioned means thatthe candidate with the most votes in a given electoral district (geographically the Canadian territoryis divided in electoral districts, also known as ridings) will be elected as a member of the Parliament(MP). There is no need to have a 50 percent of the vote to access to the House of Commons, namely,a candidate that has one more vote than his main opponent wins (The Electoral System of Canada,2012).Noteworthy, that in accordance to the principle ―first-past-the post‖ there is not a proportionalsystem in Canada. The fact that a proportional system does not exist in the Canadian electoralsystem implies that representation either by close or open list does not apply in this electoral system.According to Lijphart´s Patterns of Democracy, proportional systems exist in political systems thathave a wide variety of ethnic/religion/race/language differentiations (Lijphart, 1999). This couldapply to Canada, however, due to the numerous political parties that contend in the electoral systemin Canada (In the 2006 General Election, there were 15 parties participating, and in 2011 GeneralElection, there were 17 parties (The Electoral System of Canada, 2012). Proportional representationcauses diffusion. The rationale goes, if you want that minorities get represented in the chamber, ashorter amount of parties would be a prerequisite in order to suffice the necessities of those groups,since, with that wide variety the proportional representation would imply that each party may haveone or two representatives in the House of Commons which in the end is useless for purposes ofrepresentation. However, under proportional systems, most of the federal Canadian parties due tolow total votes received would not factor in these systems. Presently, there are only 5 federal partiesthat would be impacted by proportional systems (Canadian Federal Election, 2011).
  30. 30. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 30 of 82Audit FindingsIn Canada, a first-past-the-post voting system decides election winners. The first-the-past-postsystem does not give other parties an opportunity at the next seat nor does it base seats on proportionof votes cast.Table 4 First-Past-The-Post ExamplesCandidates for Riding A Total Votes Seat WinnerCandidate A 65,000 Candidate ACandidate B 64,500Candidate C 15,000Candidates for Riding B Total Votes Seat WinnerCandidate D 45,000 Candidate DCandidate E 44,780Candidate F 40,456The FDA believes that proportional representation is a more effective system to capture the will ofthe majority. In proportional representation, candidates win seats based on the proportion to thenumber of votes cast for them and a formula of vote reduction for each time a party wins a seat,which then allows other parties increased opportunity at winning the next seat. For example, theSainte-Laguë method, which is used on New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Germany, adheres tothis calculation: the first round of seat allocation for all parties no reduction; all other seat allocationshave the following deduction (Sainte-Laguë method, 2013):Total number of votes received .2 x (number of seats allocated) + 1Table 5 Proportional Representation (Sainte-Laguë Method) ExampleParties Total Votes Seat 1 Seat 2 Seat 3 Seat 4Party A 50,000 Party A (wins)(50,000)Party B (wins)(30,000)Party C (wins)(20,000)Party A (wins)(16,666)Party B 30,000 Party B(30,000)Party C(20,000)Party A(16,666)Party B(10,000)Party C 20,000 Party C(20,000)Party A(16,666)Party B(10,000)Party C(6,666)Party D 5,0000 Party D(5,000)Party D(5,000)Party D(5,0000)Party D(5,000)Consequently, first-past-the-post is only reflective of the candidate with the most votes in eachdistrict; whereas, proportional representation is reflective of the most of the votes cast in eachdistrict. Therefore, the political representatives under proportional representation are more reflectiveof the voice of the electorate than under first-past-the-post.
  31. 31. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 31 of 82Electoral BoundariesAudit Question1) Is the process for determining electoral boundaries reasonable and fair for all registeredcandidates and parties?Legislative Research1) Constitution of CanadaThe Constitution of Canada requires that the number of seats in the House of Commons berecalculated and the boundaries of federal electoral districts be reviewed after each 10 yearcensus (Constitution Act, Section 51(1), 1867).The population of each province is divided by the electoral quotient (111,166) to obtain thenumber of members for each province (Constitution Act, Section 51(1), Rules 1, 6(a), 1867).NOTE: The electoral quotient is adjustable to reflect average provincial population growth sincethe previous redistribution.The senatorial clause guarantees that no province has fewer seats in the House of Commons thanit has in the Senate (Constitution Act, Section 51A, 1867).The grandfather clause guarantees each province no fewer seats than it had in 1985 (ConstitutionAct, Section 51(1), Rule 2, 1867).The representation rule only applies to a province whose population was overrepresented in theHouse of Commons during the last redistribution process. If the province would now be under-represented, it will be given extra seats so that its share of House of Commons seats isproportional to its share of the population (Constitution Act, Section 51(1), Rules 3-4, 1867).Three seats are allocated to the territories – one for each of the Yukon, the Northwest Territoriesand Nunavut (Constitution Act, Section 51(2), 1867).SUMMARY:Provincial population ÷ Electoral quotient (111,166) = Initial provincial seat allocationApplication of the "senatorial clause" and "grandfather clause"Application of the "representation rule"Total provincial seats + One seat per territory = Total number of seats2) The redistribution of federal electoral districts:The Chief Statistician prepares an estimate of each province‘s population using census data andsends the information to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) (Electoral Boundaries ReadjustmentAct, Article 12.1, 1985).
  32. 32. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 32 of 82The CEO uses the population estimates to calculate the number of House of Commons membersassigned to each province. The calculation is based on the formula found in the Constitution.The findings are published in the Canada Gazette (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act,Article 14(1)).After publication of the findings, each province prepares a report recommending reasons andconcerns for its division into electoral districts; the description of the boundaries; therepresentation; and the name of the district (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article14(2)).The Chief Statistician prepares and sends to the CEO after each 10 year census a return showingthe population of: Canada, each province, each electoral district, and by enumeration areas(Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 13(1)).The CEO sends the population information to each province‘s Commission a long with a mapshowing the population distribution (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 13(2)(a)-(b)).The Governor in Council establishes a three-member commission for each province within 60days after the publication of each 10 year census. The Commissions are published in the CanadaGazette (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 3(1)(a)).NOTE: Commissions are not required for Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukonbecause each is a single electoral district.Each three-member Commission consists of a chairperson and two other appointed members(Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 4).The chairperson is appointed by the Chief Justice of the province from among the judges theChief Justice presides over (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 5(1)).The Speaker of the House of Commons appoints the remaining two members of theCommission. The appointees must reside in the province (Electoral Boundaries ReadjustmentAct, Article 6(1)).The members of the Commission cannot be members of the Senate, the House of Commons, alegislative assembly, or legislative council (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 10).Each Commission prepares a map or drawing showing the suggested division of the provinceinto electoral districts; the population of the district; and the name. The Commission mustprovide at least one opportunity for the public‘s involvement in the drawing of the map. Noticeto the public is published in the Canada Gazette and one newspaper of general circulation at least30 days before the hearing indicating the time and place (Electoral Boundaries ReadjustmentAct, Article 19(1)-(3)).Each Commission considers the following before creating an electoral district: the community ofinterest; community identity; historical pattern of electoral districts; and a manageable
  33. 33. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 33 of 82geographic size in rural or sparsely populated regions (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act,Article 15(1)(b)).The Commissions can depart from the average population electoral districts, but each districtshould stay within 25 percent of the average district population except in extraordinarycircumstances (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 15(2)).Each Commission has 10 months to finalize its report of the new electoral districts. The report isthen presented to the House of Commons, and two copies are sent the CEO (ElectoralBoundaries Readjustment Act, Article 20(1)).The CEO can extend the 10 month period to a maximum of 12 months if the Commissionrequests (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 20(2)).The report is tabled by the Speaker of the House of Commons and the report is sent to adesignated parliamentary committee for review (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article21(1)).Members of Parliament (MPs) have 30 days to provide written objections to the designatedparliamentary committee. The objections must be signed by at least 10 MPs (ElectoralBoundaries Readjustment Act, Article 22(1)-(2)).The MPs objections are reviewed by the parliamentary committee within 30 days of receipt, andthen the CEO sends the report back to the Commission for reconsideration (Electoral BoundariesReadjustment Act, Article 22(1)).The Commission has 30 days to reconsider and modify any boundaries or district names. Afterthe 30 days the final report is submitted to the Speaker of the House of Commons via the CEO(Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 23(1)). Although, the Commissions consultwith the public and MPs - the Commissions are independent bodies and their final decisionstands.The CEO prepares and transmits a draft representation order to the Minister (a designatedmember of the Privy Council) that contains: the number of House of Common members for eachprovince; the division into electoral districts; description of the districts‘ boundaries; thepopulation; and districts‘ names (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 24(1)-(2)(a)-(b)).The Governor in Council declares the representation order to be in force within 5 days after theMinister receives the order from the CEO (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article25(1)).The new boundaries are applied at the next general election if called at least 7 months after theGovernor in Council‘s declaration (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 25(1)).NOTE: The 7 months allows Elections Canada to prepare for the next general election.
  34. 34. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 34 of 82The representation order must be published in the Canada Gazette within 5 days after theGovernor in Council‘s declaration (Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Article 26).Audit FindingsThe FDA determined that the process to determine electoral boundaries is comprehensive,transparent, and relatively sound. Although the process does not include new and small parties, andthereby is susceptible to multi-partisan politics via the parties with seats in the Canadian parliament,it includes public disclosure of new boundaries within around seven months prior to an election.Process of GovernmentAudit Question1) Within the structure of government do political representatives, individually and as governmentbodies, have reasonable say in the formation of government policy, legislation etc.?Legislative ResearchThe Canadian government consists of the executive branch, legislative branch, and Judicial branch(but the judicial is not actually the government) (Constitution Act, Section 17, 1867).The Executive contains the Prime Minister and Cabinet members, and the Governor General. Thisbranch implements the laws created by the Legislative branch (Guide to the Canadian House ofCommons, 2011).The Legislative branch is both the Senate and the House of Commons. This branch makes lawscoming under the purview of the Federal government (Constitution Act, Section 91, 1867).To become law a bill must be approved by both the Senate and the House of Commons, and thenreceive Royal Assent from the Governor General (Legislative Process, 2010).The Judicial branch is the court system led by the Supreme Court. The Judicial branch interprets thelaws (Guide to the Canadian House of Commons, 2011).The Members of Parliament tow the party line (Weakening of Responsible Government, 2007).Minority governments can exist (The Electoral System of Canada, 2012).1) Executive Powera) Powers of the Prime MinisterTo appoint the Governor General of Canada (through whom the PM technically exercisesmost of his/her powers, some of which are listed below) (History, 2013).
  35. 35. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 35 of 82To appoint Senators to the Canadian Senate (The Senate Today, 2013).To appoint Supreme Court justices and other federal justices (Supreme Court Act, Section4(2)).To appoint all members of the Cabinet [to remove any member of the Cabinet] (Guide to theCanadian House of Commons, 2011).To appoint the entire board of the Bank of Canada (Bank of Canada Act, Section 6(1), 1985).To appoint the heads of the military, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and other governmentagencies (Governor in Council Appointments, 2012).To appoint CEOs and Chairs of crown corporations such as the CBC (Broadcast Act, Section36(2)).To dissolve Parliament and choose the time of the next federal election (within a 5 year limit)(Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 4(1)).To run for re-election indefinitely (no term limits) (Constitution Act, Section 14, 1867).To ratify treaties (The Royal Prerogative, 2013).To declare war (Constitution Act, section 12, 1867; The Royal Prerogative, 2013).To determine Canadian federal laws including election law within the constraints of theCanadian Constitution and Charter and contingent on passage in the Parliament (ConstitutionAct, Section 41, 1867).i) Checks on the Prime MinisterFirst-past-the-post, the current way to determine federal election winners, allows partiesto form a majority of the Canadian Parliament without representing at least an absolutemajority of the voting public (The Electoral System of Canada, 2012).The Canadian Supreme Court (Supreme Court Act, Section 4(2)).The Parliament through a vote of no confidence can remove the Prime Minister (House ofCommons Procedure and Practice, 2000).The Senate can delay or impede legislation (A Legislative and Historical Overview of theSenate of Canada, 2001).The Governor General‘s powers to hold the Prime Minister accountable to the Queen andpeople have evolved into a ceremonial role (Constitutional Role, 2013).
  36. 36. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 36 of 82The Prime Minister appoints the unelected Governor General, and therefore it followsthat the Prime Minister can remove the Governor General (History, 2013).Freedom of Expression (Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 2).Civil suits within the Federal Court System (Federal Courts Act, Section 17(1)-(2)(a)-(d),1985).The Canadian electorate votes every four to five years (Charter of Rights and Freedoms,Section 4(1)).b) Powers of the Governor GeneralExecutive power remains in the Queen who is represented by the Governor General(Constitution Act, Section 9-10, 1867).Governor General is the Commander in Chief over Canada (Constitution Act, Section 15,1867).Exercises all powers and authorities given the Role in the Constitution on advice of the PrivyCouncil of Canada (Constitution Act, Section 13, 1867).Appoints the Privy Council members (who are career public servants) on the advice of thePrime Minister (Constitution Act, Section 11, 1867).With cause may remove an individual from office who was appointed by the GovernorGeneral (Letters Patent, Section V, 1947).Summons, prorogues or dissolves Parliament (Letters Patent, Section VI, 1947).Pardons crimes and prisoners under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy with therecommendation of the Governor in Council – Prime Minister and Cabinet (Criminal Code,Sections 748(1)-(4), 748.1(1), 1985).i) Checks on the Governor GeneralAppointed by the Prime Minister (History, 2013).Requires the Prime Minister‘s permission to leave the country for work related matters(Letters of Patent, Section XIV, 1947).Governor General is apolitical and non-partisan; in practice is purely a ceremonial role(Constitutional Role, 2013).Acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the government, but has the right to advise,warn, and encourage the Head of Government (Constitutional Role, 2013).
  37. 37. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 37 of 82Needs the advice of the Prime Minister to appoint the Clerk and Members of the PrivyCouncil (Clerk of the Privy Council, 2011).2) Legislative Powera) Powers of the SenateStudies, amends, accepts or rejects bills passed by the House of Commons (The SenateToday, 2013).Performs committee works that study major economic, legal, and social issues in Canada(The Senate Today, 2013).Introduces its own bills except if related to spending public money and taxes (Guide to theCanadian House of Commons, 2011).i) Checks on the SenateThe Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister can appoint extra senators atcertain times to extend the Senate from 105 to 113 (Constitution Act, Sections 21, 26, 28,1867).The Governor General appoints Senators on the recommendation of the Prime Minister(The Senate Today, 2013).3) Powers of the House of CommonsTo create and pass bills (House of Commons Procedure and Practice, 2000).To hold the Executive branch accountable (Guide to the Canadian House of Commons, 2011).To represent their Constituents with private members bills and other assistance (Guide to theCanadian House of Commons, 2011).a) Checks on the House of CommonsMembers of Parliament are elected by the people, and accountable to the voters (Charter ofRights and Freedoms, Section 3).Vote is held every 5 years or less (Constitution Act, section 50, 1867; Charter of Rights andFreedoms, Section 4).Bills must also pass the Senate (Guide to the Canadian House of Commons, 2011).The public can view the House of Commons online, in person, and through the media duringquestion period (Guide to the Canadian House of Commons, 2011).
  38. 38. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 38 of 82Judicial Power4) Powers of the JudiciaryHas appellate review power in criminal and civil matters (Supreme Court Act, Section 35, 1985).Hears controversies between provinces and the federal government (Supreme Court Act, Section35.1).Answer questions of law or fact provided to it by the Governor in Council related to theConstitution of 1867; constitutionality of federal or provincial legislation; and the exercise ofpowers by Parliament (Supreme Court Act, Section 53(1)(a)-(d)).a) Checks on the JudiciarySuperior, District, and County court judges are removable by the Governor General on theadvice of the Senate and House of Commons (Constitution Act, Section 99, 1867).Supreme Court Justices appointed by the Governor in Council – Prime Minister and Cabinet(Supreme Court Act, Section 4(2)).Audit FindingsThere are three branches of government, bicameral parliament, governor general, and judiciary. TheSenate, comprised of those with mostly non-elected positions, has limited say over legislation, andthe judiciary is restricted to constitutional issues. Due to the tradition of strict party discipline, aparty with majority of the Parliament has control over legislation. A Prime Minister and his Cabinet,with a majority of the Parliament, has excessive powers. The checks on the Prime Minister arelimited to constitutional issues via the Supreme Court, a vote of no confidence, which is highlyunlikely when the Prime Minister has a majority, the Senate, which can merely delay the passage oflegislation, the Governor General, which has taken on a ceremonial role, and federal elections. Thefirst-past-the-post system exacerbates the powers of the Prime Minister.Registration of CandidatesAudit Question1) Are the registration requirements of federal candidates reasonable and based on reasonablepopular support rather than finances?Legislative ResearchA candidate must be an eligible elector. Candidates may not be members of provincial or territoriallegislature, a sheriff, clerk of the peace, county Crown Attorney, prison inmate, or election officer.Individuals who have been convicted of contravening the Elections Act and previous candidates who
  39. 39. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 39 of 82have not provided necessary returns and reports by their due date in a previous election are alsobarred from candidacy (Elections Act, Articles 65, 502).Candidates must submit the witnessed names, signatures and addresses of at least 100 electors in theelectoral district, or 50 if the district is listed in Schedule 3 of the Elections Act. On submittingnomination papers, the candidate must also provide $1000 (Elections Act, Articles 66, 67).Audit FindingsIn order to qualify, candidates are required to have support from at least 100 electors in theirelectoral districts (or 50 electors if the district is listed in Schedule 3 of the Elections Act), and pay a$1,000 fee to Elections Canada. Although the popular support requisite for candidates is minimal,the FDA auditors deemed the $1,000 cost as minimal as well, and a necessary barrier to entry tofilter non-serious candidates. Ideally, the barrier of entry for all candidates should be based onexclusively on popular support such as 0.5 percent support of the relevant district.Registration of PartiesAudit Question1) Are the registration requirements of parties reasonable and based on reasonable popular supportrather than finances?Legislative ResearchOn registering as a party, the party leader must provide the names and addresses of 250 partymembers as well as their declaration that they are members and support the registration application.The party leader must also provide a declaration that one of the partys main purposes is to supportand elect a candidate and participate in public affairs (Elections Act, Article 366).A party is eligible for registration as long as it provides its name, abbreviation or logo is not seen assimilar enough to an existing eligible or registered party name to cause confusion, as determined bythe Chief Electoral Officer. The name must also not include ―independent‖ or be confused with theword ―independent‖, as determined by the Chief Electoral Officer (Elections Act, Article 368).If a party cannot show a commissioner that they are committed to electing a candidate andparticipating in public affairs, they may be taken to court. If a court determines that the party lacksthis purpose, they may have their assets liquidated (Elections Act, Article 521.1).Audit FindingsIn order to register as a party the party must have 250 party members, a nominal barrier of entry.There is no financial requirement beyond the $1,000 per candidate. There are 308 seats in theCanadian parliament, and therefore, if a party wants to field candidates in every district, it wouldhave to spend $308,000.
  40. 40. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 40 of 82Electoral ComplaintsAudit Questions1) Do candidates and parties have mechanisms in which to file complaints for electoralwrongdoing/fraud?2) Are there reasonable mechanisms to enforce candidate and party electoral complaints?Legislative ResearchIf the difference in between the number of votes for the winning candidate and those with the nexthighest number of votes is less than 1/1000 of votes cast, the returning officer must request for arecount by a judge, who must perform this within four days of the request (Elections Act, Article300).Within four days of a returning officer releases a certificate describing the number of votes for eachcandidate, an elector may apply to a judge for a recount, who shall schedule a recount if an affidavitis provided indicating an incorrect count or written results. A $250 deposit must be made by theelector as a security for the winning candidate. The recount must occur within four days of therequest, in the order in which they are received. If the recount does not alter the results, the winningcandidate will have their costs paid by the elector who made the application, from the securitydeposit as necessary, with right of action if further funds are necessary. Candidates may also apply tothe Chief Electoral Officer to be reimbursed for their costs, to a maximum of $500 per day ofrecount (Elections Act, Articles 297, 301, 302, 309, 310).If a judge fails to act appropriately in seeking a recount, recourse may be made to the respectiveprovincial or territorial court under whose jurisdiction the recount request has been made (ElectionsAct, Article 311).Elections Canada accepts complaints about a possible violation of the Elections Act from anyonethrough an online complaint form, e-mail, fax, or posted mail (Elections Canada, Question andAnswer, 2013).The Commissioner of Canada Elections is responsible for investigation and enforcement of electionoffences (Elections Canada, Question and Answer, 2013, and Elections Act, Articles 509, 510).Complaints against possible violations of the Canada Elections Act must include complainant‘sname, address, telephone number, and factual description of events, circumstances, or actions, and ifpossible dates, places, and/or relevant documents, which led to the alleged offence (ElectionsCanada, Question and Answer, 2013).Complaints must be received by the Commissioner within 10 years of the alleged offence occurring(Contact Us, 2013).
  41. 41. Foundation for Democratic Advancement | 2013 Electoral Fairness Audit of Canada May 27, 2013 Page 41 of 82Commissioner determines on reasonable grounds whether or not offence under the Elections Act hasbeen committed, and this determination will be the basis as to whether or not to initiate prosecutionby the Director of Public Prosecutions (Elections Act, 511(1)).In a case of prosecution, the Director of Public Prosecutions will cause an information of writing andunder oath or solemn declaration before a justice by the Commissioner (Elections Act, Article511(2)).The Commissioner has the power to intervene in the prosecution if the Commissioner believes it isin the public interest (Elections Act, Article 513).Prosecution for an offence under the Elections Act may be commenced as soon as the Commissionerbecame aware of it and not later than 5 years, and in any case, not later than 10 years from when theoffense was committed (Elections Act, Article 514(1)).If offender has left the jurisdiction of the court, the prosecution may be instituted within one of theoffender‘s return to the jurisdiction (Elections Act, Article 514(2)).Audit FindingsThe FDA identified a comprehensive election complaints process, which is open to all Canadiancitizens.Presentation of BallotsAudit Question1) Are electoral lists presented on ballots in a fair, equitable way for all registered candidates andparties?Legislative ResearchCandidate names are taken from their nomination papers and are presented on the ballotalphabetically, along with their political party, or ―independent‖ status, or no affiliation. In the caseof two candidates with the same name and ―independent‖ or no affiliation status, their occupation oraddress may also be listed, if they have made a request for this by 5:00 P.M on polling day (ElectionsAct, Article 117).Audit FindingThe FDA auditors found no evidence that the presentation of the ballots favour one candidate orparty over another.

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