14 September 2011

Dipper candidate screwed by Tory election law mess #nlpoli

New Democrat candidate George Murphy is being accused of breaking the province’s election finance laws

Murphy’s chief financial officer sent out an e-mail soliciting donations for Murphy’s campaign in the upcoming election.

But that goes against section 282(3) that says only a registered party or a candidate can ask for donations.  The problem is that as far as the Elections Act is concerned, Murphy isn’t a candidate because the election hasn’t been called.

People can vote for him, or his party and have been able to do so for weeks even though there is no election called.

But they cannot contribute to Murphy’s campaign.

Frigged up or what?

The election finance laws haven’t been updated since 1998.

The ridiculous bit about advance voting came along with fixed election dates under the Williams' Conservatives in 2004. But Williams and his gang had no interest in modernising the elections finance laws even though Williams promised to do just that as part of his election campaign in 2003.

There is no greater fraud than a promise not kept some famous politician used to say.

Anyway, if the CBC story on this is accurate the provincial elections office says it will insist that Murphy refund any money he raised. 

Since a registered political party can legally fund-raise under the same section, the New Democrats need only change the organization doing the solicitation and everyone can happily reconcile the mess by fixed election date laws in an election finance section designed for a different situation.

No harm intended.

No real foul committed, especially when the provincial election laws are so woefully antiquated or  - as in the special ballot provisions  - are such an obvious mess.

What’s more, there are a bunch of ways people could contribute to Murphy’s campaign without triggering that section of the Act. it’s right there in black and white, if someone at the electoral office actually read the law they are supposed to enforce.

Instead, the same office that refused to investigate political work paid for by money obtained from the public purse through fraud when it involved the ruling Tories is going to punish a New Democrat for what could be – arguably – a misreading of the Elections Act by both the elections office and the candidate?

Something is very wrong in that.

- srbp -