Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair Refuses to Reveal Size of Political Financing Violation: NDP Leader Won't Reveal Financing Payback

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair Refuses to Reveal Size of Political Financing Violation: NDP Leader Won't Reveal Financing Payback

Article excerpt

OTTAWA - NDP Leader Tom Mulcair isn't revealing how much the NDP was forced to pay back to major Canadian unions after Elections Canada found the party violated political financing laws.

The elections watchdog said the New Democrats broke the rules after accepting an unspecified amount of sponsorship money from large unions during the NDP's national convention last June.

For example, an evening dinner with late leader Jack Layton and Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter was sponsored by the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Elections Canada noted that the sponsorships constituted contributions, and because parties can't accept contributions from unions, the money was considered ineligible.

Accepting money from unions or corporations isn't always a violation -- they can pay parties for goods or services, such as advertising or a sponsorship, as long as there is an actual market they are accessing and that they pay an appropriate market value.

Paying more than market value equals contributing politically to the party.

The Canada Elections Act says such contributions must be paid back to the donor, or to Elections Canada, which then sends it to the receiver general.

Reporters asked Mulcair how much the party had paid back to the unions -- which included the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the United Steelworkers.

Mulcair would offer no details.

"Elections Canada is very clear that unlike the Conservatives, we respect Elections Canada, we continue to work with them, and we continue to be in conformity with the law," Mulcair said Wednesday following the NDP's weekly caucus meeting.

"We continue to obey the law, that's what Elections Canada confirms in the letter."

Later, NDP House leader Nathan Cullen also said he couldn't specify how much money was paid back. The details will be made public when the NDP files their quarterly financial results with Elections Canada sometime in the summer. …

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