15 September 2008

ABC? Meet Elections Canada

Here are a few issues that appear to have been left unexplored for this election campaign in Newfoundland and Labrador:

1. The Canada Elections Act provides restrictions on advertising by third parties.  In this case, the Provincial Conservative Party counts as a third party.  There are caps, indexed for inflation. There's an excellent summary from Elections Canada as well as a handbook.

2.  A third party must apply to Elections Canada and be registered once it has incurred advertising expenses of more than $500. the ABC website would exceed that requirement if assessed at fair market rates for website design.

3.  "A third party may not be registered under a name that, in the opinion of the Chief Electoral Officer, is likely to be confused with the name of a candidate, registered party, registered third party or eligible party."

-  Progressive Conservative Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

-  Conservative Party of Canada

-  Progressive Canadian Party.

Go figure if that would count as confusing.

4.  As of 2130 hours Newfoundland time on 15 September, the PC Association of Newfoundland and Labrador is not listed on the Elections Canada website as a registered  third party. [dead link.  Go here and click on "Registered Third Parties"]

Update:  Someone over at the Provincial Conservative Party office got on the ball and registered the "ABC Campaign" as a third party under the Canada Elections Act. Note the effective date:  September 16.  It's not like this thing hasn't been on the go since October 2006 or anything.

Let's wander back through the list of registered third parties and see who was more on the ball than the ABC crew:

The first name on the list (as of 16 September at 2200) would be the Provincial Conservative party, doing political business as ABC.  Then there is Kevin Grandia, an environmental activist.  He registered on September 9.  Next comes Les sans-chemise. They registered on the 8th.

After that came Stephen Harper's old palls at the National Citizens Coalition (September 10) and the Professional Institute of the Public Service on September 13.

For those who don't know, John Babb is the president of the Provincial Conservative Party, in whose name the domain for the ABC website is registered.

No thanks necessary, John.  Your humble e-scribbler is happy he got the thing legally squared away.