Friday, July 21, 2006
Commissioner of Canada Elections
Director General, Compliance Programs Branch
Canada Revenue Agency
Re: Improper Treatment of Delegate Fees for Conservative Party of Canada
We wish to bring to your attention that the Conservative Party of Canada may be
treating delegate registration fees to its functions improperly and in
contravention of the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act. We ask that
you investigate what, if true, would include millions of dollars of unreported
and undisclosed contributions to the Conservative Party of Canada.
Delegate Registration Fees:
We understand that the Conservative Party has not treated any portion of
delegate registration fees as a contribution to the Conservative Party and,
therefore, has not issued income tax receipts or receipts required under the
Canada Elections Act for any portion of such delegate registration fees. Hon.
John Baird, Treasury Board President, indicated publicly that this was the case
with regard to the 2005 Conservative Party annual convention. This was
confirmed in subsequent media reports which included statements by the
Conservative Party itself. They further stated that this practice had been
ongoing for some time, implying that this possible contravention has occurred
We further understand that since the Conservative Party of Canada has not
recorded any portion of the delegate registration fees as a contribution, then
accordingly, they may have misstated contribution information of the
Conservative Party of Canada (or its predecessor parties) in public filings as
required to be made by all registered political parties.
While a delegate may receive some value in materials and services for his or her
registration fee, it is highly unlikely that such value amounts to the entire
delegate registration fee at the current levels of such a fee. Whether or not
the function involved results in a financial surplus is irrelevant as it is the
calculation of the value received by the delegate in exchange for his or her
registration fee that determines whether the person paying the delegate
registration fee has made a contribution to the Conservative Party of Canada
and, if so, the amount of such contribution. In not issuing a receipt for the
amount of the delegate registration fee that is a contribution to the
Conservative Party of Canada there may have been what I am certain you will
agree is an egregious violation of the Canada Elections Act.
Possible Excess Contributions:
Further, as the Conservative Party of Canada did not issue receipts for the
contribution portion of delegate or observer registration fees it could not
track the total contributions of an individual delegate or observer in the year
during which the function was held to ensure that total did not exceed the
maximum contribution allowed pursuant to the Canada Elections Act. Accordingly,
it is quite possible that a person who paid delegate or observer registration
fees exceeded the allowable contribution limits under the Canada Elections Act.
We would, therefore, ask you to investigate the refusal of the Conservative
Party of Canada to recognize contributions by persons who paid delegate and
observer registration fees, issue receipts to such persons and treat such
payments as contributions.
Yours very truly,