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Candidates to swear oaths about not changing political affiliation?

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Future election candidates to swear oaths about not changing political affiliation?

[Amend Canada Elections Act to include sworn statement about affiliation]

[Candidates to sign sworn statement about affiliation with official agent]

The fourth legal initiative that was proposed in the spring of 2006 was:

(P-41-2)   Future election candidates to swear oaths about not changing political affiliation?

www.DavidEmersonLegal.com asked a lawyer in April 2006 if, in future, political candidates could be asked to sign a contract, or swear to an oath, that, if elected, they would not change political parties except under exceptional circumstances specified in the contract or oath.

The lawyer said that a contract must legally be an exchange of economic or material benefit — if there is no exchange of value, then it isn’t a contract — hence contracts are not relevant to political candidacy.

Oaths are a different matter. Political candidates could swear oaths in two different ways.

(P-41)   Amend Canada Elections Act to include sworn statement about affiliation

Subsection 66(1) of the Canada Elections Act requires every candidate standing for a federal political election to make a statement under oath, naming the political party that has endorsed that candidate, if the candidate is endorsed by a party. This subsection would be an obvious place to insert an additional statement about the candidate switching political parties.

(P-42)   Candidates to sign sworn statement about affiliation with official agent

Because revising the Canada Elections Act is a slow process, an alternative method is to produce a straightforward statement that federal political candidates are encouraged to sign by their official agents on behalf of their Riding Association, if there is one. (An “official agent” is appointed by a candidate under Subsection 83(1) of the Canada Elections Act, and who handles a candidate’s finances during their election campaign, as described in Section 436 of the same Act.)

It would be impractical for political candidates to make a statement under oath for individual voters, but it would be practical for voters to check with a candidate’s official agent that the candidate had made such a sworn statement (the agent could post the statement on the candidate’s website and at their office).

Less binding than an oath is a pledge. At a public meeting of Vancouver-Kingsway candidates for the 40th Canadian Federal Election on Tuesday 7 October 2008, CBC Radio reported the next morning that the moderator of the meeting took the unusual step of of asking all the candidates to pledge to the voters of Vancouver-Kingsway that they wouldn’t change political parties. The response of Wendy Yuan, the Liberal Party candidate, was to say: “I personally pledge to you that I am totally committed to you.” She was not elected.

 
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