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Recall and Initiative Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 398

Part 5 — Initiative Vote Financing

Division 1 — Authorized Participants and Financial Agents

Authorized participants must have financial agent

59  (1) The authorized participants for an initiative vote are

(a) the proponents of the initiative vote, being

(i)   the proponent of the petition, if this individual has a financial agent under section 61 for the initiative vote, and

(ii)   the individuals and organizations for whom a financial agent has been designated under section 62, and

(b) the opponents of the initiative vote, being the individuals and organizations for whom a financial agent has been designated under section 63.

(2) An authorized participant may only accept initiative vote contributions and incur initiative vote expenses through the financial agent for the authorized participant.

(3) Section 29 (3) applies in relation to the qualifications of a financial agent for an authorized participant for an initiative vote.

Notice to proponent and opponents for initiative petition

60  (1) In addition to the notice required under section 14 (2), at least 90 days before general voting day for an initiative vote the chief electoral officer must give notice of the vote to the proponent and opponents for the initiative petition to which the vote relates.

(2) Notice under subsection (1) must advise the proponent and opponents for the initiative petition that they must act under section 61 or 63, as applicable, if they wish to be an authorized participant for the initiative vote.

Financial agent for petition proponent

61  (1) If the proponent for the initiative petition intends to be a proponent for the initiative vote, the proponent must have a financial agent.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), section 30 applies and, within 30 days after the notice is published in the Gazette under section 14 (2), the proponent of the petition must deliver to the chief electoral officer

(a) a statement that the proponent is acting as his or her own financial agent for the initiative vote, or

(b) if the proponent is not acting as his or her own financial agent, a copy of the appointment and the consent and statement referred to in section 30 (2) (b).

Financial agents for other proponents

62  (1) An individual or organization who wishes to be a proponent under this section for an initiative vote must apply to the chief electoral officer within 30 days after the day on which notice of the vote is published in the Gazette and, for these purposes, section 31 applies.

(2) For certainty, the financial agent of a proponent under section 61 may be proposed as the financial agent for an applicant under this section.

(3) The chief electoral officer must designate financial agents for proponents and establish proponent groups as soon as possible after the end of the period for applying under subsection (1) and, for these purposes, sections 32 and 33 apply.

Financial agents for opponents

63  (1) An individual or organization who wishes to be an opponent of an initiative vote must apply to the chief electoral officer within 30 days after the day on which notice of the vote is published in the Gazette under section 14 (2) and, for these purposes, section 31 applies.

(2) The chief electoral officer must designate financial agents for opponents and establish opponent groups as soon as possible after the end of the period for applying under subsection (1) and, for these purposes, sections 32 and 33 apply.

Obligations and authority of financial agents and assistant financial agents

64  (1) Section 34 (1), as it applies in relation to initiative petition contributions, initiative petition expenses and other initiative petition matters, applies to initiative vote contributions, initiative vote expenses and other initiative vote matters.

(2) A financial agent is not personally liable for any liability of an authorized participant for whom the financial agent is acting unless the liability is personally guaranteed by the financial agent.

(3) A financial agent may authorize one or more individuals to accept initiative vote contributions and incur initiative vote expenses on behalf of the financial agent and, for these purposes, section 35 applies.

Division 2 — Initiative Vote Contributions and Expenses

Initiative vote contributions

65  (1) Subject to this Part, an initiative vote contribution is an amount of money or the value of any property or services provided without compensation by way of donation, advance, deposit, discount or otherwise to an authorized participant in relation to an initiative vote.

(2) Sections 36, 37 and 38, as they apply in relation to initiative petition contributions, apply in relation to initiative vote contributions.

Initiative vote expenses

66  (1) Subject to this Part, an initiative vote expense is the value of property or services used during an initiative vote period to promote or oppose, directly or indirectly, an initiative in relation to an initiative vote.

(2) Section 39, as it applies in relation to initiative petition expenses, applies in relation to initiative vote expenses.

General valuation rules

67  Section 40 applies for the purpose of determining the value of an initiative vote contribution or initiative vote expense unless otherwise expressly provided.

Division 3 — Making and Accepting Initiative Vote Contributions

Restrictions on making and accepting initiative vote contributions

68  (1) In relation to the making of initiative vote contributions, section 41, as it applies to initiative petition contributions, applies to initiative vote contributions.

(2) In relation to the accepting of initiative vote contributions, section 42, as it applies to initiative petition contributions, applies to initiative vote contributions.

Limits on anonymous contributions

69  (1) A financial agent must not accept, in relation to an initiative vote, more than the applicable amount under section 188 (1) of the Election Act in permitted anonymous contributions under section 68 (2) of this Act.

(2) A financial agent must not accept an anonymous initiative vote contribution if this will exceed the limit under subsection (1).

Prohibited contributions must be returned

70  Section 44, as it applies in relation to initiative petition contributions, applies in relation to initiative vote contributions, except that the period for returning or otherwise dealing with an initiative vote contribution subject to that section is 30 days after the financial agent becomes aware of the contravention.

Financial agent must record each initiative vote contribution

71  For the purposes of complying with the reporting requirements of this Part, section 45, as it applies in relation to initiative petition contributions and financing, applies to initiative vote contributions and financing.

Division 4 — Initiative Vote Expenses

Restrictions on who may incur initiative vote expenses

72  (1) Subject to section 93, an individual or organization other than an authorized participant must not incur initiative vote expenses.

(2) Section 46, as it applies in relation to initiative petition expenses, applies in relation to initiative vote expenses.

Initiative vote expenses in excess of limit prohibited

73  (1) As applicable,

(a) the proponent must not incur an initiative vote expense if incurring the expense will result in the initiative vote expenses of the proponent exceeding the expenses limit determined under section 74 (2) (a),

(b) a member of a proponent group must not incur an initiative vote expense if incurring the expense will result in the initiative vote expenses for the proponent group exceeding the expenses limit determined for that proponent group under section 74 (2) (b), and

(c) a member of an opponent group must not incur an initiative vote expense if incurring the expense will result in the initiative vote expenses for the opponent group exceeding the expenses limit determined for that opponent group under section 74 (2) (c).

(2) Section 47 (2), as it applies in relation to initiative petition expenses, applies in relation to initiative vote expenses that are not to be included for the purpose of determining whether an authorized participant has complied with the applicable expenses limit.

(3) An initiative vote expense that is not included for the purpose of calculating whether there has been compliance with a limit under this Part remains an initiative vote expense and is subject to all other provisions of this Act.

Initiative vote expenses limit

74  (1) The value of initiative vote expenses incurred by all the proponents or all the opponents of the initiative vote during an initiative vote period must not exceed the limit calculated by multiplying $1.52 and the number of registered voters for all electoral districts in British Columbia at the start of the initiative vote period.

(2) The chief electoral officer must determine the expenses limit for the proponent of the initiative petition and each proponent group and opponent group as follows:

(a) if the proponent of the initiative petition is a proponent of the initiative vote under section 61, the expenses limit for that proponent is

(i)   50% of the limit calculated under subsection (1) if there are other proponents for the initiative vote, or

(ii)   100% of the limit calculated under subsection (1) if there are no other proponents for the initiative vote;

(b) in the case of proponent groups, the limit calculated under subsection (1) minus any amount allocated to the proponent for the initiative petition under paragraph (a) (i) is to be allocated to the groups in the same proportion as the number of members in the group bears to the total number of members in all of the proponent groups;

(c) in the case of opponent groups, the limit calculated under subsection (1) is to be allocated to the groups in the same proportion as the number of members in the group bears to the total number of members in all of the opponent groups.

(3) The chief electoral officer must

(a) have notice of the amount calculated under subsection (1) published in the Gazette, and

(b) give notice of the applicable expenses limit to the financial agents for the authorized participants.

(4) The chief electoral officer must establish the applicable amounts for the initiative vote by

(a) determining the ratio between the consumer price index at the time this section comes into force and the consumer price index at the time the determination is made, and

(b) applying the ratio to adjust the amount under subsection (1).

(5) For the purpose of making an adjustment under this section, the chief electoral officer has the discretion to determine whether to use a consumer price index prepared by the director under the Statistics Act (British Columbia) or published by Statistics Canada under the Statistics Act (Canada) and to determine which consumer price index is applicable for a particular time.

Division 5 — Reporting

Reporting of information regarding initiative vote contributions

75  (1) Where this Act requires that initiative vote contributions be disclosed in a report, the report must include the equivalent information in relation to initiative vote contributions as required under section 49 in relation to initiative petition contributions.

(2) On request by the chief electoral officer, a contributor must file with the chief electoral officer a solemn declaration that the contributor has not contravened this Act or the regulations.

Initiative vote financing report

76  (1) Within 90 days after the end of the initiative vote period, the financial agent of each authorized participant must file with the chief electoral officer on behalf of the authorized participant for whom the financial agent is acting a financing report in accordance with this section.

(2) A financing report must include the equivalent information in relation to initiative vote financing as required under section 50 (2) in relation to initiative petition financing.

(3) Section 50 (3) to (6), as it applies to a report under that section, applies to a report under this section, except that the period for filing a supplementary report is 30 days after the financial agent or authorized participant becomes aware of the change, incompleteness or inaccuracy for which the supplementary report is required.

Publication of financing summary

77  As soon as practicable after a financing report under section 76 (1) is received, the chief electoral officer must publish a report including the following:

(a) the name of the authorized participant on whose behalf the financing report is filed;

(b) an identification of the relevant initiative vote;

(c) a summary of the information included in the financing report;

(d) a statement of the applicable expenses limit;

(e) a statement as to whether the authorized participant complied with the applicable expenses limit.

Division 6 — Penalties for Failure to Comply

Publication of failure to comply

78  (1) The chief electoral officer must have notice of the following published in the Gazette:

(a) the name of an authorized participant for whom an initiative vote financing report is not filed in accordance with section 76;

(b) the name of an authorized participant for whom a required initiative vote financing report is not filed in accordance with section 81;

(c) the name of an authorized participant who exceeds the applicable expenses limit;

(d) the name of an authorized participant in relation to whom there was a conviction under section 162 in relation to an initiative vote financing report.

(2) Publication under subsection (1) must take place as soon as possible after the chief electoral officer becomes aware of the applicable circumstances referred to in that subsection.

Effect of incurring expenses over limit

79  (1) Unless relief is granted by a court under section 80, the following penalties apply if an authorized participant exceeds the applicable expenses limit:

(a) in the case of an expenses limit for a proponent or proponent group,

(i)   the initiative vote fails, and

(ii)   the proponent must pay, or the proponents who are members of the proponent group are jointly and separately liable to pay, to the chief electoral officer a penalty of double the amount by which the expenses exceed the limit;

(b) if the total initiative vote expenses of an opponent group exceed the expenses limit for that opponent group, the members of the opponent group are jointly and separately liable to pay to the chief electoral officer a penalty of 10 times the amount by which the expenses exceed the limit.

(2) Subsection (1) (a) does not prevent the government from introducing into the Legislative Assembly the draft Bill that was the subject of the initiative vote.

(3) The penalties referred to in subsection (1) are effective as follows:

(a) if no application under section 80 is made in respect of an authorized participant subject to the penalty, at the end of the period for making such an application;

(b) if, on the final determination of an application under section 80, the court refuses to grant relief from the penalty, at the time of that determination.

(4) In all cases, until the applicable penalty under subsection (1) is paid, an authorized participant who exceeds the initiative vote expenses limit is not eligible

(a) to apply for the issuance of a petition under section 3,

(b) to become an authorized participant for an initiative petition or an initiative vote, or

(c) to act as a financial agent in relation to an initiative petition or an initiative vote.

(5) A penalty received by the chief electoral officer under this section must be paid into the consolidated revenue fund.

Court order for relief from expenses limit

80  (1) An authorized participant may apply to the Supreme Court for relief from section 79 for failing to comply with an expenses limit and, for these purposes, section 54 applies subject to this section.

(2) An application may be made only within 120 days after the end of the initiative vote period or, if the failure to comply is disclosed by a supplementary report under section 76 (3), within 30 days after the day on which the supplementary report is filed.

Late filing of required reports

81  (1) This section applies if a financial agent fails to file a report under Division 5 of this Part with the chief electoral officer within the time period established by that Division or by a court under section 83.

(2) The chief electoral officer must give notice to the authorized participant for whom the report was to be filed that, if the report is not filed within the late filing period permitted by this section, the authorized participant will be subject to the penalties provided in this Division unless an extension is granted by a court under section 83.

(3) On payment to the chief electoral officer of a late filing fee of the applicable amount under section 220 (5) (b) of the Election Act, the report may be filed within 30 days after the end of the time period for filing established by Division 5 of this Part or before a later date permitted by a court under section 83 of this Act.

Failure to file initiative vote financing report

82  (1) Unless relief is granted by a court on an application under section 83 commenced before the end of the late filing period under section 81 (3), the following penalties apply if an initiative vote financing report is not filed with the chief electoral officer before the end of that period:

(a) in the case of a report for the proponent or a proponent group,

(i)   the initiative vote fails, and

(ii)   the proponent must pay, or the proponents who are members of the proponent group are jointly and separately liable to pay, a penalty of the applicable amount under section 220 (5) (a) of the Election Act to the chief electoral officer for each day after the last day on which it may be filed under section 81 of this Act up to the date on which it is in fact filed;

(b) in the case of a report for an opponent group, the opponents who are members of the opponent group are jointly and separately liable to pay a penalty of the applicable amount under section 220 (5) (b) of the Election Act to the chief electoral officer for each day after the last day on which it may be filed under section 81 of this Act up to the date on which it is in fact filed.

(2) Subsection (1) (a) does not prevent the government from introducing into the Legislative Assembly the draft Bill that was the subject of the initiative vote that failed because of the application of that subsection.

(3) The penalties referred to in subsection (1) are effective as follows:

(a) if no application under section 83 is made in respect of an authorized participant subject to the penalty, at the end of the period for making such an application;

(b) if, on the final determination of an application under section 83, the court refuses to grant relief from the penalty, at the time of that determination.

(4) In all cases, until the applicable penalty under subsection (1) is paid and the report is filed, an authorized participant who fails to file an initiative vote financing report is not eligible

(a) to apply for the issuance of a petition under section 3,

(b) to become an authorized participant for an initiative petition or an initiative vote, or

(c) to act as a financial agent in relation to an initiative petition or an initiative vote.

(5) A penalty received by the chief electoral officer under this section must be paid into the consolidated revenue fund.

Court order for relief from filing obligations

83  (1) An authorized participant may apply to the Supreme Court in accordance with this section for relief from an obligation to file an initiative vote financing report in accordance with this Act and, for these purposes, section 57 applies subject to this section.

(2) An application may be made only within 120 days after the end of the initiative vote period or, if the failure to comply is disclosed by a supplementary report under section 76 (3), within 30 days after the day on which the supplementary report is filed.

False or misleading reports relating to an initiative vote

84  (1) In addition to the penalty referred to in section 162, if a proponent of an initiative vote is convicted under that section in relation to a report under this Part relating to the initiative vote, that initiative vote fails.

(2) Subsection (1) applies as follows:

(a) if no appeal of the conviction is made, at the end of the period for making such an appeal;

(b) if the conviction is upheld on its final determination on appeal, at the time of that final determination.

(3) Subsection (1) does not prevent the government from introducing into the Legislative Assembly the draft Bill that was the subject of the initiative vote.

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