(Ottawa) Elections Canada is insisting that regulated fundraising events be publicly advertised with specific locations, despite security concerns raised by the Liberal government and the Conservative opposition.
The federal body recalls that parties are required under the political finance law to publicly state the name of the venue, but adds that the government could change the law to take into account its concerns.
Until then, all fundraising events held in person – outside of a general election – must be posted on the registered party’s website and must include the name of the location as well as the municipality, province or territory and Postal code.
Both the Liberal and Conservative parties have kept location details out of online notices for fundraising events attended by their leaders, citing heightened security threats.
Elections Canada made its final decision last week after an unnamed political party suggested publishing the municipality and province or territory was enough.
The agency did not say which party made the initial request, but last spring the Liberal Party informed it of a security issue with listing a location publicly.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s planned fundraising event in Surrey, B.C., was canceled after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned the protest outside could escalate.
“This incident follows numerous reports over the past few years of security issues involving politicians from across the political spectrum,” Elections Canada said in its decision.
For example, during the 2021 general election, there was an increase in incidents ranging from “vandalism to assault”. In the summer of 2022, MPs received panic buttons due to “growing concern over harassment of MPs”.
The Liberal and Conservative parties are united in their position that disclosing the location of sites leads to security concerns. The New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois did not express these same concerns to Elections Canada.
The Conservative Party told Elections Canada that disclosing events “substantially increases security risks and concerns” for MPs, “particularly leaders of registered parties.”
“Given that all regulated events must be publicly announced five days in advance, this exponentially increases the security risks and concerns of everyone involved: parliamentarians, attendees and event staff,” wrote the party in his memoir.
As for the Liberal Party of Canada, it argued that events interrupted by security risks affect people’s ability to participate in the democratic process.
“Allowing events to be disrupted […] undermines individuals’ ability to support the democratic process, endangers their safety and violates their guaranteed right to free speech under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said wrote the Liberal Party in its submission to Elections Canada.
But the organization says that when the Liberal government introduced Bill C-50 in 2018, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act on political financing, the main goal was to increase overall transparency around fundraising. political funds.
“A key element was transparency for the media, which has an interest in reporting on fundraisers involving prominent politicians and which, in turn, keep the public informed,” Elections Canada said in its ruling.
Elections Canada is concerned that parties may not disclose the location to everyone with a legitimate interest in the event, or may not disclose the location in a timely manner if it is not publicly posted online.