Motkaluk targets Murray on missing federal campaign expense documents
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/07/2022 (317 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg mayoral hopeful Jenny Motkaluk has taken aim at the presumed front-runner in the October civic election.
At a news conference Tuesday morning, Motkaluk sought to put a spotlight on fellow registered candidate Glen Murray’s missing federal campaign records from his failed 2020 run to become Green Party of Canada leader.
Murray’s expense disclosure should be publicly available on the Elections Canada website, Motkaluk said, but is nowhere to be found.
“If it’s true that Mr. Murray failed to comply with the Canada Elections Act, the voters of Winnipeg can only presume that he believes the rules don’t apply to him, and it would call into question his principles and integrity and it would cause Winnipeggers to question whether or not we can trust him,” Motkaluk said.
The missing federal campaign records are the fault of a “well-meaning volunteer” who wiped them accidentally over a year ago, Murray’s financial agent said Tuesday.
Party leadership races are overseen by Elections Canada and require a complete campaign return — which includes revenues and expenses incurred during the campaign period — to be submitted six months after the contest day. Elections Canada confirmed Murray’s 2020 return, originally due April 6, 2021, was granted an extension until June 6, 2021, but had not yet been submitted.
Heather Mack, who served as Murray’s financial agent during his Green leadership campaign, said she has been working to piece back together the return, after a campaign volunteer accidentally erased the records from cloud storage shortly after the October 2021 result was announced.
Mack acknowledged the June 6 2021, extension, saying she regrets underestimating the time needed.
Elections Canada allows campaigns to request any reasonable length of extension to report expenses, depending on the circumstance.
“I asked for a second extension but, unfortunately, there isn’t a process for a second extension. So we’re delayed at this point,” Mack said.
An Elections Canada spokesperson said while a second extension to the deadline could be sought through a superior court, to Elections Canada’s knowledge, Murray’s team had not done so.
Mack said she expects the return to be completed in about four weeks, adding it would be ready in advance of Winnipeg voters heading to the polls Oct. 26.
“We’re committed to getting the transparency, we will release all this info. It has just been an absolute headache to get to this point,” she said. “I wish it had been done earlier, but it is what it is.”
Enforcement of the Canada Elections Act is carried out by the Commissioner of Canada Elections. While penalties vary based on the circumstance, in a similar situation, the financial agent of 2019 federal Liberal candidate Susan Hayton (Saskatoon—University), who had not submitted campaign return documents due November 2019 for nearly two years afterward, was fined $300.
However the error was made, Motkaluk said Tuesday, it was telling not all of Murray’s financial records were clear.
“More concerning is the fact that it doesn’t provide Winnipeggers with any information about who contributed to his election campaign, and also how those funds were used,” she said. “So today, we don’t know if Glen Murray followed all of the rules as it relates to campaign finance.”
Murray finished fourth in the 2020 Green leadership election, won by Annamie Paul, receiving 11.5 per cent of the vote on the first ballot.
In October 2020, the party admitted to incorrectly processing nearly $10,000 in campaign donations meant for Murray into the general coffer, rather than being given directly to him. At that time, his campaign had brought in $62,550.
Twelve candidates have registered in the run for the Winnipeg mayor’s chair.
Along with Motkaluk and Murray, the other candidates are: Idris Adelakun, Rana Bokhari, Chris Clacio, Scott Gillingham, Shaun Loney, Robert-Falcon Ouellette, Jessica Peebles, Rick Shone, Desmond Thomas and Don Woodstock.
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.