Commissioner Of Canada Elections
Canada Elections Act
This notice is published by the Commissioner of Canada Elections, pursuant to section 521 of the Canada Elections Act, S.C. 2000, c. 9 (hereafter referred to as the "Act").
On October 24, 2013, and pursuant to section 517 of the Act, the Commissioner of Canada Elections entered into a compliance agreement with Mr. Aly Salim Hirji (hereafter referred to as the "Contracting Party"), of the city of Toronto, in the province of Ontario. The Contracting Party was the financial agent of Theodore John Opitz, a contestant in the 2008 Conservative Party of Canada nomination contest in the electoral district of Mississauga South (the "2008 Opitz nomination campaign"), and remains the financial agent of the contestant under the terms of the Act.
The compliance agreement between the Commissioner and Mr. Hirji includes provisions related both to Mr. Hirji as the Contracting Party and to his assistance to Mr. Opitz in carrying out a separate compliance agreement.
Filing requirement for nomination campaign return
The Contracting Party has acknowledged that paragraph 478.23(1)(a) of the Act requires that a financial agent of a nomination contestant who has accepted contributions of $1,000 or more in total, or has incurred nomination campaign expenses of $1,000 or more in total, provide the Chief Electoral Officer with a nomination campaign return in the prescribed form.
The Contracting Party has acknowledged that he is now aware that the 2008 Opitz nomination campaign received $9,000 in contributions from Mr. Opitz and incurred nomination campaign expenses in an amount that exceeded $1,000, and that the criteria triggering the requirement to submit a return were met. He further acknowledged that he did not provide the Chief Electoral Officer with a campaign return for the 2008 Opitz nomination campaign, as required by paragraph 478.23(1)(a) of the Act.
The Contracting Party has acknowledged and has accepted responsibility for this omission, and is now aware of paragraph 478.23(1)(a) and the offence provision at paragraph 497(1)(z.28) of the Act.
Receipt of contributions exceeding contributor's personal contribution limit
The Contracting Party acknowledges that he is aware that nomination contestant Theodore John Opitz contributed $9,000 to the 2008 Opitz nomination campaign, an amount $6,900 in excess of the 2008 contribution limit of $2,100 applicable to an individual who is a nomination contestant. The Contracting Party acknowledges that no return or remittance of any of the excess portion of the contribution was made and that the original nomination campaign bank account was closed in November 2008.
In addition, the Contracting Party has acknowledged that section 405.4 of the Act requires that a financial agent, within 30 days of becoming aware of a contribution to a nomination campaign that was made in contravention of a limit under subsection 405(1), either return the contribution unused to the contributor or, if that is not possible, pay the amount in excess of the contribution limit to the Chief Electoral Officer, who shall remit it to the Receiver General.
The Contracting Party has also acknowledged that, in a separate compliance agreement, Mr. Opitz has agreed to use his very best efforts to enable the Contracting Party to remit to the Receiver General the greatest possible portion of the amount of $6,900, being the portion of Mr. Opitz's contributions that exceeded the contribution limits in the Act.
Under the compliance agreement, the Contracting Party agrees to
- request and readily receive from Mr. Opitz a list of expenses with supporting information in relation to expenses incurred by Mr. Opitz for his 2008 nomination campaign, information on nomination campaign contributions made or received by Mr. Opitz for that campaign, and information on any debits made by him to the campaign bank account;
- provide the Chief Electoral Officer with a campaign return for the 2008 Opitz nomination campaign by December 2, 2013, that meets the following criteria: to the fullest extent possible, includes the items required for a nomination campaign return described in section 478.23 of the Act; is correct and complete as to the last known transaction for the nomination campaign predating the signing of the agreement; and reports, in particular, the total contribution of $9,000 made by Mr. Opitz to his 2008 nomination campaign;
- report an explanation for any absence of records or absence of supporting information for any financial transaction reported in the return;
- review the return, provide a declaration as to the completeness and accuracy of the return, and ask Mr. Opitz to do the same;
- open a new campaign bank account for the 2008 Opitz nomination campaign, to receive and deposit therein any new contributions received, and provide to the Chief Electoral Officer from that bank account, for payment to the Receiver General, the greatest possible portion of the amount of $6,900, being the amount contributed by Mr. Opitz to his nomination campaign in excess of the contribution limits;
- inform any persons who wish to make an eligible contribution to the 2008 Opitz nomination campaign that their contribution must be provided to the Contracting Party, so that the Contracting Party may deposit the contribution in the new nomination campaign bank account and provide a receipt to the contributor;
- provide periodic updates to the Chief Electoral Officer reporting the deposit of money into, or the payment of money out of, the new nomination campaign bank account. The first update report will be filed after the three-month period following the signing of the compliance agreement, in the form of an update to the nomination campaign return, and will indicate the contributions received by the nomination campaign and any payment provided to the Chief Electoral Officer for remittance to the Receiver General;
- file a final report either following the remittance of the amount of $6,900 to the Chief Electoral Officer or, in any event, within 30 days of the end of the six-month period following the signing of the compliance agreement. The final report shall set out the amount of any excess contributions not yet provided to the Chief Electoral Officer or the surplus amount remitted pursuant to section 478.41 of the Act; and
- collaborate with Mr. Opitz as necessary in order to provide the update reports and the final report.
The Contracting Party acknowledges that the nomination campaign return and updates are subject to audit by the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer and will be posted on the Elections Canada Web site as submitted.
The Commissioner agrees that the fulfillment of the undertakings in the agreement by the Contracting Party will constitute compliance with the agreement.
Ottawa, February 3, 2014
Yves Côté, QC
Commissioner of Canada Elections