Evidence of meeting #110 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was political.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Taylor Gunn  President and Chief Election Officer, CIVIX
Duff Conacher  Co-Founder, Democracy Watch
Henry Milner  Associate Fellow, Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal, As an Individual
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Andrew Lauzon
Lori Turnbull  Associate Professor, Dalhousie University, As an Individual
J. Randall Emery  Executive Director, Canadian Citizens Rights Council

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Do you think the law is there?

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

It is there. The commissioner is not enforcing it.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

If the commissioner were to enforce it, what would the commissioner then do?

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

I mentioned fines increasing. They have to increase—

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Break a promise, pay a fine.

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

Yes, the leader should pay a fine and the party should also pay a fine.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

The leader would personally pay a fine.

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

Yes, and Democracy Watch's recommendation is a minimum of one year's salary, because this is a very serious voter rights issue. It would be a minimal—

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

So Justin Trudeau would have to pay a year's worth of salary and the party would pay a fine.

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

The party would have also paid for having a misleader.

It has to be stopped. Voters right now are playing poker when they go to vote. They don't know who's bluffing. Their money is on the table.

June 5th, 2018 / 10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Right.

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

It's a fundamental voter rights issue. It has to be stopped. We've seen the damage in the U.S. and we've seen the damage here.

It has to be stopped, and the only way to stop it is a serious penalty after the fact. You're not going to be able to reverse an election result based on a false promise.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Right.

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

You just can't prove it. It has been tried in B.C. and in Ontario.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment.

There is this distinction between third parties raising money and advocating for candidates or for issues versus what parties can raise money for to advocate for issues or their candidates. Why should there be any distinction? If Canadians are sitting there and want to donate to one of the political parties to voice their political expression, or want to donate to a business association or a non-profit environmental group, why should the government care how they choose to voice their democratic rights through their donation in this case?

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

Are you saying the government cares in terms of the limits?

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Yes, in terms of various limits and various permissibility. It gives advantage in terms of our tax code. It gives advantage in terms of spending limits to political parties over charities, for example.

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Why should that be? If I'm a citizen and I don't like the political parties but there's an issue I care about and I want to donate to this group instead, but you're making it so much more preferable to me to donate to a political party, it's ironic that the political parties write the rules. However, aside from that—

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

Yes. That is why the rules are the way they are.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Yes, but is it fair?

10:35 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

No, it's not fair. The tax receipt you get for donating—

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Let's deal with limits, because that's what Bill C-76 deals with.

10:40 a.m.

Co-Founder, Democracy Watch

Duff Conacher

Yes, the limits should all be looked at.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

You argued for lowering those limits on third parties.