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BILL NO. 50
Private Member's Bill
3rd Session, 56th General Assembly
44 Elizabeth II, 1995
An Act to Amend Chapter 300
of the Revised Statutes, 1989,
the Municipal Elections Act
George G. Archibald
Printed by Queen's Printer for Nova Scotia
(a) requires each candidate in a municipal election to file an election expense
report with the returning officer;
(b) enables the public to examine election expense reports filed by candidates;
(c) requires a returning officer to publish in a newspaper a summary of each
election expense report filed with that returning officer;
(d) requires each candidate in a municipal election to file a report of political
contributions received by that candidate with the designated person under the Members
and Public Employees Disclosure Act; and
(e) enables the public to examine reports of political contributions filed with the
An Act to Amend Chapter 300
of the Revised Statutes, 1989,
the Municipal Elections Act
Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 Subsection 44(8) of Chapter 300 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Municipal
Elections Act, is amended by striking out "may" in the first line and substituting "shall".
2 Section 70 of Chapter 300 is amended by striking out "may" in the first line and
3 Chapter 300 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 143 the
143A In Sections 143B to 143N, "election expenses" means all expenses incurred
during an election for the purpose of promoting or opposing, directly or indirectly, the
election of a candidate, or a person who becomes or is likely to become a candidate, or
the program or policy of a candidate and includes expenditures incurred before an
election for literature, objects or materials of an advertising nature used during the
election for a purpose above referred to, but does not include
(a) the cost of publication in a newspaper or other periodical of editorials,
news, reports or letters to the editor that are published in the same manner and
under the same rules as outside the election period without payment, reward or
promise of payment or reward, so long as the newspaper or other periodical is not
established for the purpose of the election or with a view to the election and that the
frequency and circulation of publication do not differ from what obtains outside the
(b) the cost of transmission by a radio or television station of a broadcast
of news or comment that is made in the same manner and under the same
regulations as outside the election period without payment, reward or promise of
payment or reward;
(c) reasonable expenses incurred by a candidate or any other person, out
of that person's own money, for lodging and food during a journey for election
purposes if those expenses are not reimbursed to that person;
(d) a candidate's transportation costs;
(e) the transportation costs of any person other than a candidate, paid out
of that person's own money if those costs are not reimbursed to that person; or
(f) the sum deposited with a nomination paper.
143B (1) During an election, no person other than the official agent of a
candidate or a representative of such an agent authorized in writing by the agent shall
incur or authorize election expenses.
(2) No person shall accept or execute an order for election expenses that
is not given by an official agent of a candidate or by a representative of such an agent
authorized in writing by the agent.
(3) No person shall claim or receive for election expenses a price different
from that person's regular price for similar work, service or merchandise outside the
election period or accept different remuneration or renounce remuneration.
(4) Notwithstanding subsection (3), a person may contribute, without
remuneration, personal services and the use of a vehicle if the person does so freely and
not as part of that person's work in the service of an employer.
(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, a candidate may
pay personal expenses during an election up to the amount of one thousand dollars and,
subject to clauses (d) and (e) of Section 143A, the expenses so paid form part of the
candidate's election expenses but shall not include the expense of any publicity.
(6) A candidate, who pays personal expenses pursuant to subsection (5),
shall give to that candidate's official agent a detailed statement of the payments.
143C (1) Every candidate shall have an official agent whose name and address
shall be contained in or accompany the nomination paper of the candidate.
(2) Where the official agent named in or with a nomination paper dies,
resigns or becomes unable to act, the candidate shall appoint another forthwith by a
writing delivered to the returning officer.
(3) A candidate, by writing delivered to the returning officer, may dismiss
an official agent and appoint another.
(4) The returning officer shall immediately notify the Municipal Elections
Officer of every appointment and replacement of an official agent.
143D No person shall be the official agent of a candidate unless the person is
entitled to be registered as an elector at an election.
143E (1) Any payment of twenty-five dollars or more for election expenses shall
be evidenced by a receipt that shall provide all the particulars required for auditing each
item of work or material and the rate or unit price used for computing the amount.
(2) Every person to whom an amount is due for election expenses shall
present that person's claim not later than thirty days after ordinary polling day to the
official agent or, if the agent has died or resigned or is incapable and has not been
replaced, to the candidate.
(3) The right of a person to recover election expenses is barred unless that
person presents the claim within the time prescribed by subsection (2) or, in the event of
that person's death, the claim is presented by that person's personal representative within
thirty days of the grant of probate or letters of administration.
143F (1) The official agent of each candidate shall, within sixty days after the day
on which the successful candidate is declared elected, deliver to the returning officer a
report of election expenses in a form prescribed by the Municipal Elections Officer,
together with invoices, receipts and other vouchers or certified copies of them and a list
of those documents and an affidavit of the agent verifying the report and stating that no
payment not permitted by this Act was made with the agent's knowledge and consent and
that to the best of the agent's knowledge and belief every expense incurred is entered in
(2) Within fourteen days after receiving each report of election expenses,
the returning officer shall publish, in a form prescribed by the Municipal Elections Officer,
a summary bearing the signature of the official agent of the candidate in a newspaper
published or circulating in the polling district or electoral district.
(3) The returning officer shall preserve the report, invoices, receipts and
vouchers or copies of them for a period of one month after they have been delivered to the
returning officer and during that period shall permit any elector, during ordinary office
hours, to inspect and make copies or extracts therefrom upon payment of a fee of one
(4) At the expiration of that period of one month, the returning officer shall
forward the documents to the Municipal Elections Officer who shall retain possession of
them for at least one year, after which the Municipal Elections Officer shall deliver the
invoices, receipts and vouchers to the candidate if the candidate so requests or, if not, the
Municipal Elections Officer may destroy them.
143G (1) Where the report and affidavit prescribed by Section 143F are not
delivered within the period prescribed the candidate is disqualified from sitting or voting
in the council or the school board, as the case may be, until the report and affidavit are
delivered unless a judge by order excuses the delay.
(2) A person who sits or votes contrary to subsection (1) is liable to a fine
of five hundred dollars for each day on which that person so sits or votes.
143H (1) Where a report or an affidavit contains an error, the official agent or
candidate may request
(a) a judge; or
(b) the Municipal Elections Officer,
to direct the necessary correction and, where the Municipal Elections Officer is satisfied
that the correction should be made, the Municipal Elections Officer shall cause the report
to be amended.
(2) Where, in the opinion of the judge or the Municipal Elections Officer,
a substantial change is made by reason of a correction pursuant to subsection (1), the
judge or the Municipal Elections Officer, as the case may be, may order the publication
of a summary of the amended election expense report in an appropriate newspaper at the
expense of the candidate on whose behalf the change is made.
(3) Where a candidate establishes before a judge that the absence, death,
illness or misconduct of an official agent or other reasonable cause prevents the
preparation of a report prescribed by Section 143F, the judge may make any order that
the judge considers necessary to enable the applicant to obtain all the information and
documents to make the report and affidavit and grant such further delay as the
circumstances appear to the judge to require.
(4) Failure to comply with an order made pursuant to this Section is
punishable in the same manner as failure to appear or to testify before the court.
143I (1) In the report prescribed by Section 143F, an official agent shall report
separately election expenses that are
(b) unpaid and uncontested; and
(c) unpaid and contested.
(2) An official agent or candidate shall not pay a claim that is so contested
except in compliance with a judgment of a court in favour of the creditor after hearing of
the case and not upon a confession of judgment or an agreement of settlement.
(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), a judge may authorize the payment of
a contested claim or of a claim not presented within the prescribed time if it is established
before the judge that the contestation or delay in filing results from a bona fide error or
143J (1) The judge having jurisdiction on an application pursuant to Section
143G, 143H or 143I is a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.
(2) No such application shall be heard without notice of at least three clear
days to the Municipal Elections Officer and to each of the other candidates for election in
the polling district or electoral district.
143K (1) Every official agent who wilfully
(a) delivers or files a false report or affidavit;
(b) produces a falsified invoice, receipt or other voucher; or
(c) after the delivery of a report, pays a claim otherwise than as
permitted by Section 143I,
is guilty of a corrupt practice.
(2) A candidate whose official agent has been guilty of any of the acts
mentioned in subsection (1) is also guilty of a corrupt practice unless it is established that
the act is of no great gravity and could not have affected the result of the election, or that
the candidate had taken in good faith all possible and reasonable precautions to carry out
the election honestly according to the requirements of this Act or that the act of the official
agent was committed without the knowledge of the candidate.
(3) A candidate who wilfully incurs, pays or authorizes any election
expense otherwise than as permitted by this Act is guilty of a corrupt practice.
(4) A person guilty of a corrupt practice contrary to this Section is liable
to a penalty of not less than one thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars or
to imprisonment for a term of not less than ninety days nor more than twelve months or
143L (1) Every candidate shall, at the time of appointment of that candidate's
official agent, appoint an auditor.
(2) An auditor must be a public accountant licensed pursuant to the Public
(3) Where an auditor appointed by a candidate ceases for any reason to
hold office as such, ceases to be qualified as provided in subsection (2) or becomes
ineligible as provided in subsection (4), the candidate shall forthwith appoint another
(4) No returning officer, assistant returning officer or deputy returning
officer and no candidate or official agent of a candidate is eligible to act as the auditor for
(5) A partner or employee in a firm of public accountants may act as an
auditor notwithstanding that another person in the firm is a candidate or an official agent
of a candidate, or an auditor for another candidate.
(6) The auditor appointed by a candidate shall make a report to the official
agent of the candidate on the election expense report form prescribed by the Municipal
Elections Officer respecting
(a) election expenses incurred by or on behalf of the candidate; and
(b) the total contributions for which the official agent has issued a
receipt for income tax purposes,
and the auditor shall make such examinations as will enable the auditor to state in the
auditor's report whether, in the auditor's opinion, the return presents fairly the financial
transactions required to be detailed in the report.
(7) An auditor, in a report pursuant to subsection (7), shall make such
statements as the auditor considers necessary in any case where
(a) the return to which the report relates does not present fairly the
financial transactions required to be detailed in the report;
(b) the auditor has not received all the information and explanation
that the auditor has required; or
(c) proper accounting records have not been kept by the official
agent so far as appears from the auditor's examination.
(8) An auditor appointed by a candidate shall have access at all reasonable
times to all records, documents, books, accounts and vouchers of the official agent of the
candidate and of the candidate relating to the election, and is entitled to require from the
official agent of the candidate and the candidate such information and explanation as in
the auditor's opinion may be necessary to enable the auditor to report as required by this
143M Where an official agent refuses, fails or is unable to comply with this Act, the
Municipal Elections Officer may apply to a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for
an order directing the official agent to attend before the judge to show cause why the
official agent has not complied with this Act and, upon the hearing of the matter, the judge
may order the official agent to be examined with respect to any report or particulars that
have not been provided in accordance with this Act and may order the official agent to
make such return and declaration or supply such statement of particulars as the judge
thinks appropriate within the time, to the person and in the manner as the judge may
143N (1) In Sections 143O to 143AD,
(a) "designated person" means a person designated pursuant to the
Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act;
(b) "contributions" means services, money or other property
donated to candidate to support the political purposes of the candidate, but
does not include personal services or the use of a vehicle volunteered by a
person and not provided as part of that person's work in the service of an
(2) Sections 143O to 143AD apply to contributions made on and after the
first day of January, 1996.
143O Contributions to a candidate shall be made only to the official agent of the
143P The official agent shall record the full name and residential or business
address, other than a post office box unless that is the only address available, of each
contributor together with the amount of the contribution.
143Q An official agent shall not accept an anonymous contribution in any amount
and, if any anonymous contribution cannot be returned to the contributor, it shall be remit-
ted to the designated person who shall transmit it to the Minister of Finance.
143R No individual or organization shall contribute to any candidate funds not
beneficially belonging to the individual or organization or funds that have been given or
furnished to that individual or organization by another individual or organization for the
purpose of contributing those funds unless the individual or organization to whom the
funds beneficially belong is identified as the contributor or unless the individual
contributing the funds is the spouse of the person to whom the funds beneficially belong.
143S On or before the thirty-first day of March in each year, every official agent
of a candidate shall file with the designated person a disclosure statement showing the full
name and residential or business address, other than a post office box unless that is the
only address available, of each contributor whose contributions received by that official
agent during the previous calendar year exceed fifty dollars in total and the amount of the
total contributions by that contributor.
143T (1) Where a trust or fund is established to further the goals of a candidate
and the trust or fund is not controlled by the candidate, the names of contributors to the
trust or fund shall be disclosed when a transfer is made from the trust or fund to the
(2) Subsection (1) applies to a transfer made after the coming into force
of this Section from a trust or fund regardless of when the contributors paid money into
the trust or fund.
143U Where a contribution or gift of goods or services is made to a candidate for
the purpose of sale or auction, the value of the contribution for the purpose of this Act is
the dollar value at which those goods or services are sold or auctioned.
143V Any person may examine a disclosure statement respecting contributions to
a candidate or respecting a payment to a member or the member's spouse or dependent
143W Disclosure statements shall be available for examination at any time during
regular office hours of the designated person.
143X A person who examines a disclosure statement pursuant to this Act may
obtain a copy of that statement upon payment of the prescribed fee.
143Y (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations respecting
(a) the appointment of official agents;
(b) duties of official agents;
(c) how contributions of money can be made;
(d) records to be maintained of money accepted as contributions;
(e) the maintaining and use of accounts in financial institutions;
(f) audits of records of contributions to candidates;
(g) payment of auditors;
(h) disposition of contributions made in contravention of this Act or
contributions from anonymous sources.
(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in
subsection (1) is regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.
143Z For the purpose of exercising jurisdiction pursuant to this Act, the designated
person has all the powers, privileges and immunities of a commissioner appointed
pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act and the designated person may establish rules of
procedure for the purpose of this Act.
143AA (1) A candidate may, by application in writing, request that the designated
person give an opinion and recommendations on any matter respecting the candidate
pursuant to this Act.
(2) The designated person may make such inquiries as the designated
person considers appropriate and provide the candidate with a written opinion and
(3) The opinion and recommendations of the designated person are
confidential, but may be released by the candidate or with the consent of the candidate in
(4) A candidate who acts on the opinion and recommendations given by the
designated person pursuant to this Section is and is deemed not to be in contravention of
this Act with respect to the matters dealt with in the opinion and recommendation.
143AB (1) Upon the application of a person who states under oath that that person
has reasonable and probable grounds to believe a candidate is in contravention of any
provision of this Act or the regulations respecting contributions and who produces
sufficient evidence in support of the allegation to satisfy the designated person that there
is a reasonable probability that the contravention has occurred, the designated person
shall inquire into the allegation.
(2) The designated person may inquire into a possible contravention of any
provision of this Act respecting contributions or the regulations where evidence of an
essential element of the possible contravention can be found in information disclosed to
the designated person but that is not available to be examined by the public pursuant to
(3) The designated person may engage the services of any person
necessary to assist with the duties of the designated person pursuant to this Section.
143AC (1) Where the designated person conducts an inquiry pursuant to this Act,
the designated person may
(a) determine that there has been no contravention of this Act or the
(b) determine that there has been a contravention of this Act or the
regulations and direct the candidate, where applicable, file or amend a
disclosure statement within the time prescribed by the order;
(c) refer the matter to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for a
(d) fine the person that contravened this Act or the regulations in an
amount not exceeding ten thousand dollars.
(2) A copy of the decision of the designated person at an inquiry shall be
filed with the Prothonotary at Halifax.
(3) A person who has been ordered to comply with the requirement referred
to in clause (b) of subsection (1) shall file or amend the disclosure statement.
(4) The designated person may refer to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia
the failure of a person to comply with the requirement referred to in clause (b) of sub-
section (1) or with subsection (3).
(5) Where the designated person refers a matter to the Supreme Court of
(a) the designated person shall
(i) instruct counsel to commence an application in the
Supreme Court, and
(ii) determine the parties to the application;
(b) the designated person shall take no further part in the
proceedings, as a witness or otherwise; and
(c) the judge of the Supreme Court dealing with the application shall
(i) hear the evidence and argument presented by the parties,
(ii) determine on the basis of the evidence presented whether
a contravention of this Act or the regulations or a direction of the
designated person has occurred.
(6) Where the judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia determines that
a contravention of this Act or the regulations or a direction of the designated person has
occurred, the judge may
(a) order the filing or amendment of a disclosure statement;
(b) fine the person or electoral district association or recognized
party that contravened this Act or the regulations or a direction of the desig-
nated person in an amount not exceeding ten thousand dollars;
(c) declare the seat on the council or the school board, as the case
may be, vacant.
143AD (1) A finding, direction, determination or order of the designated person
or a judge made pursuant to Section 143AC may be appealed to the Nova Scotia Court of
Appeal by the person affected within thirty days of the making of the finding, direction,
determination or order.
(2) In subsection (1), "person affected" includes the person who initiated
the request for an inquiry.
(3) Where an appeal has been filed as provided by law, a judge of the Nova
Scotia Court of Appeal may, upon application by the person appealing, stay the order
from which the appeal has been taken pending the determination of the appeal.
143AE Where the designated person determines that an allegation of a contravention
of this Act is frivolous or vexatious, the designated person shall dismiss the matter and
may order the person who made the allegation to pay costs or damages, or both, to the
candidate and grant such other relief as the designated person may determine.
4 Subsection 167(1) of Chapter 300 is repealed and the following subsection
(1) The Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) respecting the appointment and duties of official agents;
(b) respecting how contributions of money can be made;
(c) respecting records to be maintained of money accepted as
(d) respecting audits of records of contributions to candidates;
(e) respecting payment of audits;
(f) respecting the disposition of contributions made in contravention of this
Act or contributions from anonymous sources;
(g) prescribing forms to be used for the purpose of this Act;
(h) prescribing fees for the purpose of this Act;
(i) defining any word or expression used and not defined in this Act;
(j) respecting any matter necessary or advisable to effectively carry out the
intent and purpose of this Act.