Tuesday, October 29, 2013

FDA PUBLIC FORUM on Injured Canadian Veterans and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board

Foundation for Democratic Advancement (FDA) PUBLIC FORUM on Injured Veterans’ Struggle to Receive Disability Pensions/Awards.
Forum on what is happening and why; hear the stories of veterans.

The Forum is an opportunity to learn about issues that affect us and express our views openly.

Chaired by Mr. Stephen Garvey, FDA Executive Director

  • DATE: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 
  • TIME: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • PLACE: Moot Court Room, Mount Royal University. (East A Building (EA) 1031). 
Forum sponsored by Foundation for Democratic Advancement and Mount Royal University, Faculty of Communication Studies.

FDA Injured Veterans Report Information

Monday, October 14, 2013

FDA Electoral Finance Report on the 2010 Calgary Mayoral Election: Separating Fact from Fiction

Foundation for Democratic Advancement image by lvdesign.ca

Executive Summary

This FDA electoral finance study focuses on the 2010 Calgary Mayoral Election. The main purpose of the research is to tabulate the amount of contributions for all candidates. As the research progressed, further inquiry was made into the reporting system used by the City of Calgary, within provincial legislation. (2013 election finance data is not publicly disclosed until after Election Day on October 21, 2013; only voluntary and incomplete financial data is available now.)

Our results indicate that the top three candidates accounted for two-thirds of total campaign financing or 67 percent. The FDA also observed a wide variation between candidates with respect to the proportion of financing originating from different types of contributors. This includes distinctions based on contribution amount (under $100 versus over $100), and contribution source (individuals versus business versus unions). For example, 95.9 percent of gross contributions to all mayoral candidates were over $100, while 4.1 percent of gross contributions to all mayoral candidates were under $100. Also, 51.1 percent of total contributions to mayoral candidates were from corporations.

The FDA concludes that electoral finance process in the 2010 City of Calgary mayoral election had a number of shortcomings, which in turn likely impacted the electoral fairness of the election, and the correlation between the voice of Calgarians and the election results.

The FDA acknowledges that the root issue stems from Alberta's Local Authorities Election Act, which the Alberta Provincial Government has jurisdiction over. However, the FDA believes that the City of Calgary still has the ability to improve the electoral finance process. For example, for modest costs, the City Calgary can upgrade and standardize the way campaign finances are reported to the City by candidates, and subsequently reported by the City to the general public.


Do you know the electoral finance history of the 2010 Calgary Mayoral Election?

Do you know that three mayoral candidates had 67% of the electoral finances of all mayoral candidates (ten three mayoral candidates in total)?

Do you that contributions by corporations accounted for 51.5% of the total contributions to mayoral candidates, without considering any individuals who may have contributed for corporations?

Do you know that there were 99 incidents of individuals and corporations contributing to more than one candidate and totaling $595,333. (Note, we are not making an ethical judgment, and there are no municipal laws against contributing to more than one candidate. Our goals are to gauge the frequency and financial scope of this phenomenon.)

Do you know that 95.5% of gross contributions to all mayoral candidates were over $100, while 4.1% of gross contributions to all mayoral candidates were under $100?

Relevant Links

FDA Electoral Finance Report on the 2010 Calgary Mayoral Election

Stakeholder Advisory


Thursday, October 10, 2013

2013 Calgary Mayoral Election--Where is the Money Coming From?

Most Calgarians likely can't help from noticing the ubiquitous and frequent amount of fliers and other publicity materials being used in the 2013 Calgary Municipal Elections. In addition, Calgarians likely notice numerous billboard like signs. All these promotional materials cost money. Where is the money coming from? What strings are attached to the candidates, especially those candidates who receive the largest amount of contributions?

In the third week of October, 2013, the Foundation for Democratic Advancement will release its electoral finance analysis from the 2010 Calgary Mayoral Election, and the most recent 2013 Calgary municipal election. This information will give you objective and informed information on how much each candidate received in contributions and from who. Please note, that due to the weak municipal election laws, there is no required audit on municipal candidates' financial disclosures, and the campaign contribution limit is set high at $5,000 per individual/corporation per year. In addition, an electoral finance audit is only as good as the sources of revenue and expenses that the candidate discloses.

Below are primary sources of finance in Calgary. It should be noted that the construction sector of the Calgary economy only represents 8.1% as percentage of GDP for 2013 (or $8,7771 million). The largest sector in Calgary economy is the primary and utilities (or oil and gas sector). This sector represents 32.1% of the Calgary GDP for 2013. 

GDP by industry - Calgary CMA, 2013 (Calgary Economic Development, 2013).

Industry2007 $ Millions(as % of GDP)

Goods-producing industries51,34547.2%
   Primary and utilities34,89832.1%

Services-producing industries57,36952.8%
   Transportation and warehousing4,6184.2%
   Information and cultural industries3,3503.1%
   Wholesale and retail trade9,0218.3%
   Finance, insurance and real estate and leasing15,33114.1%
   Business services9,8829.1%
   Personal services4,3724.0%
   Non-commercial services7,7227.1%
   Public administration and defence3,0722.8%
All industries108,714100.0%

Stephen Garvey, Executive Director, Foundation for Democratic Advancement

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Canadian Federal Election Laws and the Registration of Parties

In 2007 Marc Mayrand was appointed Chief Electoral Officer by the House of Commons. He serves until retirement at age 65 or his resignation. Mayrand is the sixth Chief Electoral Office in Canadian history. Only registered parties with a seat(s) in the Parliament have a say on the appointment of the Chief Electoral Officer. In addition, the only formal job requirement for the Chief Electoral Officer position is that that the person speaks and understands clearly English and French. 
For most Canadians, registering a federal party likely has minimal barriers to entry. A political group only needs 250 members, a leader, three officers, auditor, chief party officer, logo, and party name (Elections Act, 2000, Articles 366, 368; Registration Forms for Political Parties, 2013). However, the process of registering a party has subtle barriers to entry:
  1. None of the party registration materials including name and logo are protected until the party is registered.
  2. The Chief Electoral Officer makes the final decision as to whether or not a party is registered. If the political group's application is rejected for any reason, the political group must start the registration process over again, and Elections Canada keeps all the materials submitted.
  3. The political group's name (in both French and English, and in abbreviation) and logo cannot be confused with any existing political party. The Chief Electoral Officer makes the final decision, with no disclosure of how this Officer makes the decision (Elections Canada Responses to FDA Questions, 2013). 
  4. Every three years, political parties must re-submit at least 250 signed member forms or lose their registration status (Elections Act, 2000, Article 366).
So in the end, registering a Canadian federal political party is not as easy as it may seem.


Do you think it is reasonable that political groups must start an application over if for any reason their registration applications are rejected?

Should the Chief Electoral Officer have final say on party registration and with minimal accountability, barring a private law suit against Elections Canada?

Who appoints the Chief Electoral Officer? The Chief Electoral Officer is appointed based on a resolution of the House of Commons. The resolution may be agreed upon by all parties represented in the Parliament, or determined by the majority Government in power, like Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Biggar from 1920 to 1927 (House of Commons and Its Members, 2013).

The only formal job requirement on the Chief Electoral Officer is that he or she speaks English and French? (Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, 2013). Do you think this is reasonable criteria for selecting this Officer?

Should all registered parties, whether with a seat in Parliament or not, be consulted on the appointment of the Chief Electoral Officer and have substantive say on the appointment? Wouldn't this make the appointment fairer and more inclusive? Why favour the large, established parties?


Appointment of the Chief Electoral Officer. (2013). Elections Canada. Retrieved from

Chief Electoral Officers Since 1920. (2013). Elections Canada. Retrieved from

Elections Act. (2000, May 31). Elections Canada. Retrieved from http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&dir=loi/fel/cea&document=part00&lang=e

Elections Canada Responses to FDA Questions. (2013). Elections Canada Responses to FDA Questions via Email on September 26, 2013. Responses by Huguette Belisle, Chief, Registration Unit and Financial Officer for Elections Canada.

FDA Electoral Fairness Report on Canada. (2013). Foundation for Democratic Advancement. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/FDAdvancement/2013-can-fed-audit

House of Commons and Its Members. (2013). Parliament of Canada. Retrieved from

Office of the Chief Electoral Officer. (2013). Government of Canada. Retrieved from http://www.appointments-nominations.gc.ca/prflOrg.asp?OrgID=CEO&lang=eng

Registration Forms for Political Parties. (2013). Elections Canada. Retrieved from http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=pol&dir=pol/formsreg&document=index&lang=e

Stephen Garvey, Executive Director Foundation for Democratic Advancement