The Mayor of Beloeil, Nadine Viau, calls on Quebec to review the deadlines surrounding the transmission of financial reports from municipal parties. She regrets that the sanctions are “excessive”, at a time when many elected officials lost their right to sit this week because they did not submit this report on time.

“Although I understand the reasons that led the National Assembly to legislate to tighten the rules to be respected in matters of municipal elections, today we come to this conclusion: the sanctions are disproportionate in several respects,” writes Ms. Viau in a letter sent over the weekend to Municipal Affairs Minister Andrée Laforest.

In recent days, several elected municipal officials have seen their right to sit on the municipal council revoked because the financial report of their party had not been transmitted before April 1, that is to say within a maximum period of three months. This is the case of the leader of the opposition in Longueuil, Jacques Lemire1, but also of Xixi Li, of the Coalition Brossard party, or even the leader of the opposition in the City of Beloeil, Renée Trudel.

However, across Quebec, “companies have six months to file their tax returns,” said Mayor Nadine Viau. “Cooperatives used to have four months, but amendments were passed in 2015 to extend that to six months. In both cases, they do not have to be audited,” she points out.

Meanwhile, continues Ms. Viau, “the resources available to political parties are undermined by the administrative delays of Elections Quebec.”

“As of this date, all Beloeil parties that received more than 15% of the votes in the November 2021 general election are still awaiting reimbursements of approximately 25% of eligible expenses. The two 2022 by-elections for Beloeil are still awaiting evaluations of election expenses and no reimbursement from Elections Quebec has been made to date,” she laments.

Ultimately, how can it be justified that Elections Quebec takes more than two and a half years to make a refund, “but that a party leader be expelled from office for not having submitted a report within three months”? asks the mayor. “It makes no sense,” she pleads.

His administration is calling in particular for Quebec to extend the deadline for the transmission of financial reports from three to six months, everywhere in the province.

“You have to understand that the political parties in a city like Beloeil with 25,000 inhabitants do not have the same resources as the parties in a city like Montreal with 1.7 million inhabitants. However, the law makes no distinction in terms of obligations and sanctions in the event of non-compliance, ”continues the mayor.

She says she finds that too often, Elections Quebec imposes sanctions provided for in the law “without accompaniment or support for voluntary organizations that get involved for their municipality”. “Is it possible to value citizen participation? Is it really democracy to suspend citizens honestly elected by the community for failing to comply with a rigid law? »

The elected official calls on Minister Andrée Laforest to find “with all Quebec communities a way to manage these situations with humanism and realism”. “It’s a matter of public trust in our institutions,” she concludes.