For those curious, I figured I’d throw together a little “Election 101,” or how do things work after elections. It helps to understand that candidates have more duties than simply running for election. There are a number of paperwork issues that must be dealt with, whether or not you win a seat.
One of the most important aspects to consider as a candidate is money. This is important even though a candidate really doesn’t have anything to do with the money. You are required to appoint an Official Agent who deals with all the campaign finances except your own personal expenses. This includes taking contributions, for which there are a few regulations as to limits and who can and cannot contribute to a campaign, issuing official receipts, running the bank account, etc. In short, you can buy yourself a coffee while on the road on a campaign. Renting a car for the campaign, though, must be done by your official agent. I’ve known people campaigning who, as a rule, never carried cash or their debit card on their person.
There are a few other related items. One month after the polling date is the deadline for submitting all contribution receipts for income tax purposes. You must issue a receipt for any contribution over $20.00. Issuing these is usually the job of your official agent since he or she is the one accepting the money.
Three months after the polling date, you must have submitted all of your expense invoices as well as the Candidate’s Statement of Personal Expenses to your official agent. Finally, within four months, you must have submitted all of the forms, auditor’s report, and invoices to Elections Canada, or have filed a request for an extension.
How important are these steps? One of the related issues is maximum campaign expenses. In Yukon, the maximum allowable campaign costs for this election are $85,898.10. Spending more than this on your campaign has serious ramifications, including a 5 year ban on sitting or being elected to the House of commons or holding a crown appointment. This penalty, on top of any others imposed such as a fine or jail sentence, is automatic for all cases on conviction. If the timing for filing your paperwork has expired, you are not permitted to run in the next election.
In short, there is a bit more to do than just run for election. You’ll note that I say that as if “just” running wasn’t enough to do…