Nova Scotia

Chief electoral officer to review unions' donations to NDP

Elections Nova Scotia has launched a review of questionable donations the New Democratic Party received from several construction union locals in late April.

Elections Nova Scotia has launched a review of questionable donations the New Democratic Party received from several construction union locals in late April.

Chief Electoral Officer Christine McCulloch said she still needs more details on how the NDP party received $50,000 from the unions.

"As far as I know, there was a response to the identification of contributions that the party must have considered to be inappropriate, and they returned them," McCulloch told CBC News on Tuesday.

"That’s all I know. I don’t know any of the details behind how that happened and why it happened."

The president of the Mainland Nova Scotia Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents 14 affiliated unions, told CBC News on Monday his group had reimbursed several union locals for contributing $5,000 each to the NDP in April.

That sort of arrangement is not allowed by Elections Nova Scotia.

A spokesperson for Elections Nova Scotia had said on Monday that the NDP did the appropriate thing by returning $45,000 of the questionable funds to the construction unions. The party kept $5,000 that is allowed by law.

McCulloch said she is not sure how long the review will take.

Tory, Liberal parties call for investigation

Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservative Party sent a letter to Elections Nova Tuesday, calling for an official investigation to look into the donations. The letter also asked McCulloch to also involve the RCMP in the investigation.

In the letter, the PC Party alleged the NDP Party violated Section 14 of the province’s Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act by accepting the donations from the unions.

A portion of Section 14 states: "The total contributions by an individual or organization to each recognized party and all candidates and electoral district associations of that party must not exceed $5,000 in each calendar year."

"In Nova Scotia, $50,000 is a large contribution to an election campaign and our question is, what is it that Darrell Dexter and the NDP had to promise in order to get $50,000 in illegal contributions?" asked PC Party spokesperson Jordi Morgan.

The Liberal Party also sent a similar request to the chief electoral officer on Tuesday.