Thursday, October 22, 2009

French to English: Elections, Part 2


We received our voting reminder cards yesterday.  Electors have the option to vote in advance or to vote on election day - November 1.  Seeing that the polling place for advanced voting in my area is closer to my home, it looks like my brother and I will be taking advantage of advanced voting on Sunday, October 25. 

The polling place is on our way from church and located about half a kilometer away from my favorite store.  We're all set for Sunday - church first, voting second and shopping last - three activities that will take up a whole morning.  It's a good feeling to be able to do your spiritual and civic duty in one schlep; it's like earning a reward, the reward of course being shopping.

Each year when I do my tax returns, there's a line under the deductions category that I've never filled in - the tax deduction for contributions to political parties.  It's not because I don't support any; it's because the small budget I reserve for donations goes to education (McGill University never fails to call me), Alzheimer's and sick children. 

As for my party allegiance, I support mainly one party although I do recall making a shift once or twice. Apart from those two occasions, however, I've always remained loyal to my party.  I don't think I have ever voted for an independent candidate.  I'm sure there have been and there will be worthy candidates who prefer to run independently, but it seems they get little or no support from the population.

Back to political contributions, the magic number seems to be 1100; that is, citizens cannot make any contribution more than $1,100 to any one party in any given election.  At least that was the rule in 2007, and I hope Elections Canada did not forget to update their web site.

Highlights of the Canada Elections Act pertaining to financial contributions:

  • only Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada can make a financial contribution;
  • the maximum contribution limit to any registered political party is $1,100;
  • the same maximum amount applies to contributions to independent candidates;
  • cash contributions of more than $20.00 to any party are no longer allowed;
  • corporations, trade unions, associations or groups can no longer make political contributions;
  • contributions more than $20.00 must have a receipt and must be reported;
  • as for tax credits, Canadians can deduct 75% of the first $400.00 in contributions, 50% for the next $350.00 and 33-1/2% of any amounts above $750.00.

I'm not sure if the $1,100 contribution is allowed for only one party.  Let's say you're a voter and you like the platforms of three political parties.  Will Elections Canada allow you to make a $1,100 contribution to each party?  That means giving $3,300.00 during one election period.

Or did Election Canada mean to say that $1,100 is the only amount you'll be entitled to contribute?

It might be worthwhile to clarify that point!

Your lexicon:



accès de plein pied level access
agent réviseur revising agent
bureau de scrutin itinérant mobile poll
carte de rappel reminder card
dépouillement du scrutin counting of votes
limite des circonscriptions electoral boundaries
parti enregistré registered party
révision ciblée targeted revision
scrutateur returning officer
section de vote polling division
vote par anticipation advanced voting

One of the more popular issues hugging this year's elections is transportation.  Parties are presenting their ideas about a tramway for Montreal.  The three major parties - Union Montreal, Vision Montreal and Project Montreal - all agree that Montreal needs a tramway.  They differ only on the timeframe and the planning for the initial routes.  With an exceptional subway system that runs on rubber wheels and envied by people who visit Montreal, adding a tramway to our public transport system would really make our city a world-class city.  Plus tramways look pretty.  Cross your fingers that they won't be painted with outlandish designs and be eye sores.


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