Yesterday I was informed by a prior political adviser to one of the current parties in Saskatchewan that my campaign can be DISQUALIFIED. Oh, really! How might this occur? Well…it appears to some it may be seen as bribing the constituents by saying, “I am committed to giving back from my MLA salary if elected, monthly or 20% of the basic MLA salary to the constituents of Saskatoon Nutana.” No where did I say a name, no where did I say an exact amount, no where did I say an exact time this clandestine event would occur. LOL.
The Saskatchewan Elections Act is a great place to find information on this very thing. Pages and pages of STUFF regulating how elections in Saskatchewan are controlled. The 1930 Revised act Chapter 4 goes over disqualification in sections 42-44. Nope, none apply here. Completely irrelevant. It does say for interest though, “Executory contracts arising out of elections void. 192 Every executory contract, promise or undertaking in any way referring to, arising out of or dependent upon an election, even for the payment of lawful expenses or the doing of a lawful act, shall be void.R.S.S. 1920, c.3, s.267; R.S.S. 1930, c.4, s.192.” Clearly the meaning behind this statement must have changed otherwise Scott Moe’s statements surrounding “home renovations” and “athlete tax credits” to mention two would be promises arising out of elections and would be considered void.
The New Saskatchewan Elections Act of 2015 “Chapter L-30.11* of The Statutes of Saskatchewan, 2015 (effective January 1, 2016) as amended by the Statutes of Saskatchewan, 2017, c.P-30.3; and 2019, c.10.” lists “Bribery” as an item of concern. It will take a bit to wrap your brain around this piece of political trash in relation to elections considering the Premier and Opposition Leader both were talking about spending, promises of tax credits for this or that, they promise the moon prior to the voter entering the voting booth.
A few items to consider are as follows:
1) Home construction money
2) Athletic tax credit
These offers are directed at a specific group of people in the province as not all are in a position to benefit from them. Shouldn’t offers be universally available to all residents of Saskatchewan otherwise, in this case, class bias appears? If you don’t own a home, or rent, the construction money is unavailable. If you don’t have kids in athletics and need more equipment then this too is unavailable. Perhaps it is still defined as first the consumer has to pay something to get something in return, well this from my law classes is a classic contract with “offer and acceptance”…listed above as a bribe in an election.
The question now is, “How is my offer of taking a 20% reduction of my salary if elected and giving it back to those in need in my political area viewed as a “bribery” or “undue influence?” Who has been influencing who?
Back to the question, as a political candidate I have promised no one specifically and have not offered any contract that anyone who can be identified, nor a date to, or a specific amount, but is actually quite vague. I was also not looking for a tax credit by suggesting the cut and distribution of salary. In fact, people still would have to apply in writing for themselves or via a friend to be considered for any of it. Setting up a volunteer panel from the local constituency / community was the plan of who and how the funds would be dispersed. Leaving no relationship to myself and whomever gets the gift. The guide to the volunteers would be to give in smaller amounts to those in need. If larger amounts are needed, then these volunteers can look beyond their resources for others in the community to further assist. However, enabling this committee to seek beyond letters and emails for causes to support would be within their scope. Perhaps it can be identified as the “MLA Emergency Fund of Nutana”.
In time, those in the community who would like to additionally help, that avenue will be available. Once the committee is formed they will run the show, so to speak.
Note: I am not asking or seeking political contributions for a campaign, for posters, billboards, huge political mailers, or for grandstanding my political party at the expense of the province through tax credits or corporate sponsors on late night television and news media. So…who is bribing who and who is using undue influence?