Inside Politics

UPDATED - Passive Aggressive Legislation Watch: This one's (almost certainly) for you, NDP leadership candidates!

Attention NDP leadership candidates: Remember that bill -- or, to be grammatically and historically accurate, those bills -- that the Conservatives kept bringing forward during the minority era to restrict political loans to party leadership candidates? 

The non-newly elected in your caucus might recall the issue from such parliaments as, oh, pretty much session in every one from the 39th onwards, but here's a quick reminder: the last time it went to a vote -- in the spring of 2008, to be precise -- your party supported the government's bill to impose tighter restrictions on loans to leadership candidates, which, despite the show of Conservative/NDP solidarity, eventually died on the Order Paper later that year when the PM got fed up with opposition obstreperousness and asked the GG to pull the plug and drop the writs. 

Anyway, according to the Notice Paper, it's back -- and this time, not only does the PM in question have the necessary votes to get it through both the Commons and the Senate before the end of the year, but, in an instance of truly awkward timing, your party is in the middle of a leadership race of its own. (I know, it was a lot easier when it was all about making life more difficult for the Liberals, wasn't it?) 

With its ultimate success all but assured, will the NDP caucus stick to its 2008 principles and back the bid to limit loans from individuals to the maximum permitted donation, with the only allowable loans from financial institutions listed in Schedule I or II of the Bank Act? Or has the position of the now-Official Opposition evolved since it voted alongside the government in 2008?

UPDATE: As pointed out by the eagle-eyed @JuristBlog on twitter, if the government sticks with the wording from earlier bills, loans from "financial institutions" as defined by the Bank Act would, indeed, be permitted, which would include the $50,000 that Topp received from the Creative Arts Savings and Credit Union

"financial institution" means

(a) a bank or an authorized foreign bank,

(b) a body corporate to which the Trust and Loan Companies Act applies,

(c) an association to which the Cooperative Credit Associations Act applies or a central cooperative credit society for which an order has been made under subsection 473(1) of that Act,

(d) an insurance company or a fraternal benefit society incorporated or formed under the Insurance Companies Act,

(e) a trust, loan or insurance corporation incorporated by or under an Act of the legislature of a province,

(f) a cooperative credit society incorporated and regulated by or under an Act of the legislature of a province,

(g) an entity that is incorporated or formed by or under an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province and that is primarily engaged in dealing in securities, including portfolio management and investment counselling, and

(h) a foreign institution;

Leadership candidate Martin Singh's $35,000 loan to himself would, however, still be prohibited in that scenario. 

That, of course, presumes that the government won't take advantage of the situation to narrow the definition of allowable loans. We'll find out on Monday! 

UPDATED AGAIN: A closer reading of the most recent iteration of the legislation suggests that future (or, depending on how this unfolds as far as implementation timeline, current) leadership candidates could, in fact, find it difficult to secure a loan from an eligible financial institution, as the bill would have limited guarantors to the maximum allowable donation limit. (Under the existing law, a sole guarantor can back any loan, even one that would exceed the cap.) 

As for a candidate using personal assets to guarantee a loan, well, that could, in theory, constitute an in-kind loan to oneself, which would also be prohibited. 

To watch my brain whirl through the possible implications in realtime, read my tweeted musings on the subject via the magic of Storify: 

Comments are closed.