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Decision Callaghan

Decision Callaghan

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Published by staylor

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Published by: staylor on Jan 18, 2010
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01/18/2010

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Federal Court Cour fédérale 
Date: 20100118Docket: T-838-07Citation: 2010 FC 43Ottawa, Ontario, January 18, 2010PRESENT: The Honourable Mr. Justice MartineauBETWEEN:L.G. CALLAGHAN IN HIS CAPACITY ASOFFICIAL AGENT FOR ROBERT CAMPBELLAND DAVID PALLET IN HIS CAPACITY ASOFFICIAL AGENT FOR DAN MAILERApplicantsandTHE CHIEF ELECTORAL OFFICEROF CANADARespondentREASONS FOR JUDGMENT AND JUDGMENT
[1]
 
The Court is called upon to examine the role exercised by the Chief Electoral Officer(CEO), the named respondent in this application for judicial review, under Part 18 – FinancialAdministration of the
Canada Elections Act 
, S.C. 2000, c. 9 (the Act). Of particular importance tothis application are the provisions related to the reimbursement of election expenses claimed bycandidates who have participated in a federal election.
 
Page: 2[2] The 39th general election took place on January 23, 2006 (the 2006 election). On or aroundApril 23, 2007, the respondent sent letters to a number of candidates of the Conservative Party of Canada (the Party) who participated in the 2006 election, informing them of his decision to refuse tocertify certain advertising expenses which had been claimed as election expenses.[3] The applicants act as official agents of two Conservative candidates, and were among therecipients of these refusal letters. As such, they challenge the legality of the CEO's decision torefuse to certify certain advertising expenses claimed by their particular campaigns (the impugneddecisions). They request that the Court set aside these two decisions and force the respondent todeliver new certificates to the Receiver General of Canada (Receiver General) which include theclaimed advertising expenses.[4] While the Court does not endorse all of the arguments made by the applicants, the impugneddecisions should be set aside and the matter referred back to the respondent with appropriatedirections.[5] In reaching the above conclusion, the Court has considered the totality of evidence filed bythe parties in this proceeding, the representations made by counsel in their written material as wellas at the five day hearing held November 23-27, 2009, and the additional documentation andsubmissions put forward by both parties after the hearing.
 
Page: 3I LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK[6] Prior to examining the facts relevant to the present application, it is necessary to highlightthe purpose of the provisions found in Part 18 of the Act. These provisions deal with, and assist theCourt in understanding, the election spending limits, the obligations incumbent on official agentsand the basic principles that govern the reporting and reimbursement of expenses incurred bycandidates in a federal election.A – SPENDING LIMITS[7] In 1991, the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing (the LortieCommission) underscored the importance of spending limits with regard to electoral fairness.Among other things, the Lortie Commission made a correlation between political communication,spending limits and voter behaviour. It was noted that political communication has a known effecton voters and that inequalities in the spending capacity of participants (i.e. candidates and/orregistered parties) in an election would have a considerable impact on the outcome of the vote, sinceparticipants with greater resources would be able to communicate more frequently and with theassistance of different media (Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing,
 Reforming Electoral Democracy
, vol. 1 (Ottawa: Communication Group, 1991) at pages 324 and339 (Chair: Pierre Lortie)).[8] Six years later, in
 Libman v. Quebec (Attorney General)
, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 569, the SupremeCourt of Canada confirmed the importance of spending limits in the electoral context. At paragraphs47 and 48, the Court noted that “spending limits are essential to ensure the primacy of the principle

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