Green party signs helping Liberals in B.C. led to violation: elections watchdog

OTTAWA - The federal elections watchdog says an unofficial partnership between the Greens and Liberals in a B.C. riding aimed at unseating a Conservative incumbent in the 2015 election led to an "illegal" contribution to the Liberal campaign.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections says the use of signs purchased by the Green party to help build support for Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding constituted a non-monetary contribution to Fuhr's campaign and a violation of the Canada Elections Act.

Thomas Ryder, the official agent for Green party candidate Gary Adams, has entered into a compliance agreement with the elections commissioner, in which he promises not to do this again.

The Liberal campaign struck an agreement with the Greens to have Adams withdraw from the race and endorse Fuhr — an attempt to encourage strategic voting against the Conservative incumbent which appears to have worked because Fuhr won the seat.

Ryder purchased Green campaign signs with party money, but after Adams stepped down, Ryder and other volunteers continued to use the signs at Liberal campaign events, which is considered a non-cash political contribution and not allowed.

The commissioner found the violation was not intentional, but warned Adams not to use signs featuring a party logo of a withdrawn candidate at campaign events of another political party.

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