Failed Grit leadership hopefuls stuck with debt 0
Joe Volpe. (ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI AGENCY)
Failed 2006 Liberal leadership hopefuls won't be off the hook for the campaign debts they racked up even if they're hit with a penalty for breaching the Canada Elections Act, says Elections Canada.
The agency's spokesman confirmed Tuesday that if and when Elections Canada throws the book at Hedy Fry, Martha Hall Findlay, Joe Volpe and Ken Dryden, they'll have to keep raising money under current leadership fundraising rules until they're in the black.
John Enright also said the commissioner of Elections Canada has no choice but to penalize any scofflaw candidate who has breached the Canada Elections Act by failing to pay back campaign debts within prescribed time period.
"If there's unpaid claims or loans, there's an offence," said Elections Canada spokesman John Enright. "That offence is punishable by $1,000 and or three-month (in jail)."
Enright said all four still had to file final returns, which then had to be audited.
Until then, Elections Canada couldn't say whether it would take any action against the indebted candidates.
On Monday, it was confirmed Fry, Volpe, and Findlay wouldn't appeal an Ontario Superior Court ruling tossing out their request for a two-year extension to pay debts remaining from their 2006 leadership bids.
The trio had already been given two extensions to make good on their debts.
NHL hockey Hall of Famer Ken Dryden is in a similar situation. The six-time Stanley Cup champion was on the hook for $360,000, according to Dec. 31 filings with Elections Canada.
Combined, the four owed over $650,000, though Fry and Findlay both say they've significantly whittled down their debts since last year. Findlay hopes to raise enough money to cover her debt by fall.
Fry and Findlay told QMI Agency Monday they'd been in contact with the elections agency to see if they could work out a compliance arrangement.
Meanwhile, it's up to creditors to go seek any outstanding debts through the court system if the loans are not paid according to the terms of their loan agreement.