B.C. businessman dinged for illegal donation to NDP MP's 2015 campaign

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OTTAWA — A British Columbia businessman who made an illegal contribution to New Democrat MP Peter Julian's 2015 election campaign has been ordered to pay $7,500 to the receiver general of Canada.

Elections commissioner Yves Côté says Robert Gibbs, co-owner of Romar Communications, provided free website development services to Julian's campaign.

Gibbs told Julian's campaign that the work was done by volunteers, after work hours.

However, unbeknownst to the campaign, Côté says three workers were paid $1,000 each for their work, the commercial value of which Côté says was actually $6,000.

In its report to Elections Canada, Julian's campaign reported non-monetary contributions worth $2,000 from each of the three workers.

Since that exceeded the $1,500 individual donation limit, the campaign paid $1,500 to Gibbs' company on the understanding that it would be given to the three workers, but Gibbs kept the money.

The $7,500 Gibbs must now pay the receiver general represents the commercial value of the work done plus the $1,500 from the campaign that was never given to the workers.

Côté announced the payment as part of a compliance agreement with Gibbs.

Compliance agreements are commonly used by the elections commissioner to deal with relatively minor violations of the Canada Elections Act. They do not constitute a criminal conviction in a court of law and do not create a criminal record for the offender.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press