Elections Canada ‘Agnostic’ on Party Platforms – Even When They’re Antisemitic

July 15, 2020 – This week, the CJR queried Elections Canada about whether the agency will strip the status of the far-right Canadian Nationalist Party (CNP) or warn it against engaging in antisemitic rhetoric.

As noted in our editorial of July 15, the leader of the party, Trevor Patron, recently re-uploaded a video to social media (first posted last year) in which he called for “that parasitic tribe” to be “removed from Canada once and for all.”

Patron’s rant about “swindlers,” “snakes,” and “inside manipulators” – as well as a subsequent reference to “the synagogue of Satan” – “make his antisemitic agenda crystal clear,” the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs stated.

A flier posted on the CNP’s Facebook page is titled “Beware The Parasitic Tribe.” It includes quotations from the New Testament amid references to “inside manipulators” and stating, “everywhere these people go, they infiltrate the media, they hijack the central bank, and they infect the body politic like a parasite.

“If they had their way, our entire way of life would be eradicated.”

Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer conferred official party status on the CNP in September of last year. In the last federal election, the party ran three candidates and received 284 votes in all.

The following is the response from Elections Canada:

The Canada Elections Act, as drafted and enacted by Parliament, is agnostic when it comes to ideology or platform. Just as there is no mechanism under the Act allowing the Chief Electoral Officer to reject a new party’s application solely based on their [sic] ideology, there’s no legal mechanism that allows him to deregister a party for any reason not explicitly listed in the Act. Under the Act, a party can only be involuntarily deregistered (that is, not at the party’s own request) for the following reasons:

• A party will be deregistered if it fails to endorse a confirmed candidate at a general election. If a registered party is deregistered, its registered associations are also deregistered.

• The CEO may also deregister a registered party if it fails to:

¬ file statements confirming or amending the information in the Registry of Political Parties within 10 days of the writs being issued

¬ report on or before June 30 each year, confirming or amending the party’s information in the Registry of Political Parties

¬ report any changes to the information about the party in the Registry of Political Parties within 30 days of the change

¬ file an audited statement of its assets and liabilities within six months of its registration

¬ file the party’s audited financial transactions return for each fiscal period within six months of the end of the fiscal period

¬ file the party’s audited general election expenses return within eight months of election day

¬ file a statement setting out the dates of a leadership contest, varying the dates or cancelling the contest or

¬ file a report on a nomination contest within 30 days of the selection date


There are other pieces of legislation and frameworks that regulate the behaviour and discourse of individuals and groups in Canada, including the Criminal Code, but these are outside Elections Canada’s mandate. 

Kind regards,
Natasha Gauthier
Spokesperson, Media Relations 
Elections Canada
media@elections.ca