OTTAWA – Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown is working to pay off debt from his federal Conservative leadership bid, but without the help of the party or the ability to issue tax receipts to donors.
The Conservative Party of Canadasurprised manyby ousting Brown from the leadership campaign last year over allegations he had violated the rules of the race and possibly the Canada Elections Act.
Brown, who has denied wrongdoing, went on to win re-election as mayor of Brampton, Ont., after his disqualification.
The former leadership candidate still has an unspecified amount of expenses to pay off from his campaign and he hosted a fundraiser in the Greater Toronto Area last week, charging $1,700 per ticket.
Brown’s campaign manager said his team has set up an account in the name of its official agent to collect donations, which are ineligible for the federal tax credit for political contributions.
John Mykytyshyn said the account was set up after the campaign got advice from Elections Canada, and that the team plans to follow the agency’s reporting requirements.
“Patrick’s supporters are, as they were at the time of the disqualification, shocked and appalled that the party took course that it did â€¦ and continue to support Patrick in whatever way they can.”
Mykytyshyn wouldn’t say exactly much campaign debt Brown owes. He did say it does not exceed $1 million.
A spokesman from Elections Canada said Brown must submit his final campaign return by March 10.
The Conservative party is not accepting contributions to Brown’s campaign because its rules prevent it from accepting donations to candidates who did not meet the leadership contest criteria.
“The only involvement the Conservative Party of Canada had was the legal obligation to post the fundraising event on our website by Elections Canada,” wrote party spokeswoman Sarah Fischer in a statement.
According to Elections Canada’s rules, fundraising events must be reported to the agency if they have been organized to benefit a political party, will be attended by a prominent political figure such as a leadership contestant, and have a minimum ticket price of $200.
As of late Tuesday, however, there was no mention of Brown’s fundraiser on Elections Canada’s online registry of regulated fundraisers, which includes past and future events.
Mykytyshyn said they plan to file a report shortly with a list of who attended.
But he also said he believes they followed the rules by informing the Conservatives about the event last week, and that it was up to the party to report it to Elections Canada.
The party has not yet responded to a question about whether it did so.
An Elections Canada spokesman wouldn’t say whether it received notice of Brown’s fundraiser, only that it will publish such information “as soon as possible” after receiving it.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2023.