Liberal Cabinet Minister received donations in potential violation of Canada Elections Act

Liberal Cabinet Minister received donations in potential violation of Canada Elections Act
The Canadian Press / Sean Kilpatrick

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller received donations from corporate lawyers in New York, according to Elections Canada filings, in what seems to be a violation of the Canada Elections Act.

According to Blacklock's Reporter, Elections Canada revealed that Miller, the Liberal MP for Quebec's Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Sœurs riding, received $3,730 in donations to his riding association during a mid-campaign fundraiser.

Donations to Miller's campaign included a pair of lawyers, James Bailey of Bailey Duquette and Ariel Deckelbaum of Paul Weiss LLP, who also previously donated to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, according to U.S. records revealed by Blacklock's. Miller, Bailey and Deckelbaum are all alumni of McGill University in Montréal.

Other donations came from lawyers Mark Lessard (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP), Stephane Levy (Cooley LLP) and Ken Ottenbreit (Stikeman Elliot LLP). All of the lawyers involved declined to comment on the story.

“We found no information to suggest the individuals who made contributions to Mr. Miller’s campaign through the association were not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada,” Elections Canada said in a statement.

The unannounced fundraiser at a private residence saw the minister rack up $690 and $262 in flight and taxi expenses, while a Manhattan attorney billed Miller's campaign nearly $900 for purchases from a liquor store. Miller told the U.S. Department of Justice when registering through the Foreign Agents Registration Act that he travelled to New York to “attend a meet-and-greet among Canadian citizens on October 10 at a Canadian citizen's home and collect donations from these Canadian citizens for his Canadian election campaign as a Liberal Party candidate.”

In a tweet from last February, Miller claimed all donations from the fundraiser were made digitally, though he offered no explanation as to why he needed to attend in person.

Cabinet previously dismissed questions about the fundraiser, with Senator Marc Gold saying in February that “all aspects of the law were faithfully adhered to.” Minister Miller himself has declined to comment on the event.