The NDP sent out an email Friday telling donors who gave in memory of late party leader Jack Layton that their money had been refunded to their credit cards.
Readers will recall that the NDP initially processed the in memoriam donations through the party’s books, which would make them tax deductible as political contributions.
The money was to go to the Broadbent Institute, a left-wing think tank that, at the time, had yet to incorporate and in law was little more than an idea.
This appeared to breach the election financing law that makes it is illegal for parties to use their tax status to solicit donations on behalf of another organization.
Running for cover, the NDP had said that no tax receipts would be issued and that the money the party received would be redirected to the Douglas – Coldwell Foundation. But it now looks like that plan didn’t fly, either.
The party’s national director, Chantal Vallerand, sent an email calling this “an unfortunate situation.”
On the advice of Elections Canada, the NDP is refunding the donations and instead asking the donors to contribute direct to Douglas-Coldwell, Vallerand wrote.
Here’s her note:
Dear [DONOR'S NAME],
During the outpouring of support following Jack Layton’s passing, you made a generous donation of $10 to the Broadbent Institute in his memory.
At a time of great tragedy, I know your show of support was a tremendous source of comfort to the Layton family.
I want to thank you. And I am asking you to re-direct that donation through Tommy Douglas’ charitable foundation. Let me explain why.
You may remember that the newly-formed Broadbent Institute could not yet accept donations, and so the New Democratic Party quickly set up an online donation page on its behalf. We wanted to ensure the family’s wishes were respected in a very difficult time.
Recently, Elections Canada let us know that donations to the Broadbent Institute had to be made through a registered charity, not through our Party.
We respect this decision and want to ensure your valued donation can be used for its intended purpose.
That’s why today, I’m asking you to help us fulfill the wishes of the Layton family and redirect your donation of $10 to the non-partisan, charitable Douglas-Coldwell Foundation in support of the Broadbent Institute. In the meantime we have refunded the full amount of your donation to your credit card.
By redirecting your donation now, you will continue to honour the memory of Jack Layton and carry out his family’s wishes.
Redirect your donation of $10 in support of the Broadbent Institute.
I want to thank you for your understanding. This is an unfortunate situation. I know you agree that the important thing is that your generous gift is used for its intended purpose – to help build Jack Layton’s vision for a better Canada.
New Democratic Party of Canada
Click here to redirect your generous donation of $10 in Jack Layton’s memory now.
For more information, please phone 1-866-525-2555 and we will answer all of your questions.