Is Andrew Telegdi violating the Elections Act?

Take a look at the website of Liberal candidate Andrew Telegdi as it appeared last night:

So, what’s the matter with Telegdi’s website?

Aaron Wudrick, the campaign manager of Telegdi’s Conservative opponent (and Blogging Tory) forwarded an email that he sent to the commissioner.

What are sections 320 and 321 of the Canada Elections Act?

320. A candidate or registered party, or a person acting on their behalf, who causes election advertising to be conducted shall mention in or on the message that its transmission was authorized by the official agent of the candidate or by the registered agent of the party, as the case may be.

321. (1) No person shall knowingly conduct election advertising or cause it to be conducted using a means of transmission of the Government of Canada.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), a person includes a group within the meaning of Part 17.

As for s.320, Wudrick is referring to the absence of “Paid for by the official agent for Andrew Telegdi”. Now, this may be the case because Telegdi appears to be using his MP website for the purposes of “re-elect[ing] Andrew Telegdi”. According to Wudrick, we are led to infer that this is his MP site because of the links to constituency office information and constituent services. If this is so, his website is paid for the people of Canada and not by his campaign and that’s where he runs into trouble with the next section of the act. Section 321 states that MP websites cannot be used for election advertising.

As of this afternoon, Telegdi’s site now features “Paid for by the official agent for Andrew Telegdi” but the site still contains constituency service information is a conflict with someone that is now simply a candidate and not an MP according to Wudrick.

UPDATE: Some eagle-eyed viewers have pointed out that Pierre Poilievre’s election site contains constituency service information. I’m not convinced that the display of such information is against the Act, though to have an election site that advertises constituency information and the candidate without it being labelled as paid for by the official agent of a campaign is certainly problematic for a campaign. I called Poilievre and he confirmed that his site is in accordance with the Act as it is in compliance with s.320. Indeed, from what I understand, he could advertise Telegdi’s constituency services if he wanted.

Liberal fundraising, alive and well!

Just landed in my inbox, this alleged Liberal fundraising flyer:

According to the flyer, items to be auctioned off to raise money for eight Ottawa-area federal Liberal riding associations include among other things:

– Golf with Paul Martin
– Hockey tickets with Ken Dryden

It is specified that “the sky is the limit” during the auction and according to the flyer, “A successful bid does not count as a political contribution and is not eligible for a receipt for income tax purposes” and conveniently, “your successful bid will not affect your annual political contribution limit of $1100.” And “bids” from corporations? Why not!

Well, that’s reassuring…

It would appear that the Liberals claim that the federal Elections Act doesn’t apply to this kind of political fundraising because the Liberals say so.

The Liberals used to “raise money” outside of the oversight of the Elections Act by giving hockey tickets to Quebec advertising executives. It’s good to see that if the Liberals go through with this fundraiser as described, they are opening up the process outside of that exclusive network to their Ottawa membership. If so, it’s too bad for Canadians that the Liberals think that circumventing the law is different from breaking it.

Wajid Khan out of caucus

Following this story in the Globe and Mail which broke a few hours ago, this press release just landed in my email inbox:

OTTAWA – Today, Member of Parliament Wajid Khan announced he is stepping aside from Conservative caucus. The decision was made following media reports that he may be charged under the Elections Act over matters dating back to the 2004 election, when he ran as a candidate for the Liberal Party.

“Although I have not yet been served with court documents, Given the circumstances, I am withdrawing from the Conservative caucus to sit as an independent MP. I have also offered the Prime Minister my resignation as his Special Advisor for Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs.”

Wajid Khan MP
Mississauga Streetsville