Office of the Leader of the Government in The House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Office of the Leader of the Government in The House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

June 17, 2008 18:27 ET

Accountability With Respect to Loans Bill Passes House of Commons

'The government is one step closer towards closing a loophole that allows rich, wealthy individuals to exert undue influence in the political process'

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 17, 2008) - Loans made to political parties, candidates, and associations are one step closer to being more accountable and transparent with the passage of the Accountability with Respect to Loans Bill in the House of Commons, announced Peter Van Loan, Minister for Democratic Reform.

"The government is one step closer towards closing a loophole that allows rich, wealthy individuals to exert undue influence in the political process," said Minister Van Loan. "Our Bill will close this loophole and take a significant step on the road to eliminating - once and for all - big money in politics."

The Accountability with Respect to Loans Bill amends the Canada Elections Act in four ways:

- In accordance with the Federal Accountability Act, it limits the amount that an individual can lend or guarantee on behalf of a campaign to the contribution limit of an individual ($1,100 in 2008). In addition, the combined total of loans and donations from an individual cannot exceed the contribution limit of $1,100.

- It prohibits unions and corporations from lending money to political entities, which is also in keeping with the spirit of the Federal Accountability Act.

- It establishes a standard procedure for reporting loans, which applies to all political entities-associations, candidates and parties. This procedure will replace the provisions of the current act, which provides different rules for the various political entities.

- Riding associations will automatically assume responsibility for the debt of local candidates should the latter be unable to repay their loans. Hence, candidates will no longer be able to evade their responsibilities.

"If a leadership contestant, local association, or major national party wants to borrow more than the legal donation amount, they should do it at commercial rates, fully disclose all terms and conditions, and borrow the money from an accredited financial institution in an open and transparent fashion," continued Minister Van Loan. "This will be the process under our Bill and we hope the Senate considers the Bill in a quick and timely fashion. I would like to thank Pat Martin, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre, for having focused attention on the need to address this issue."

The Accountability with Respect to Loans Bill was first introduced as Bill C-54 in the first session of the 39th Parliament. After prorogation it was re-introduced and became Bill C-29. The Bill has passed the House of Commons and will now be considered by the Senate.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Leader of the Government in the House
    of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform
    Michael White
    Director of Communications
    613-952-4930