There’s something called the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) that prescribes consequences when candidates for municipal or school board election don’t follow the rules. Specifically, when those candidates don’t file the required financial disclosure paperwork after an election, a report must be made, and their names must be made public.
Further, they can be fined up to $5,000 and lose the right to run again for eight years.
So it says, in black and white, in Slave Lake town council’s Nov. 8 agenda package.
According to the report presented to council, three candidates for town council in the 2021 election (all of them unsuccessful), did not comply with the reporting requirements. Darin Busk, Phil Lokken and Rebecca King did not file campaign disclosure statements, the report says, on or before March 1, following the election the previous October.
Besides council being informed, and the names being made public, the town was to send a report to the Alberta Election Commissioner. The candidates are further required to pay a late-filing fee of $500 to the town.
The report also states that the candidates can appeal all this to the Court of King’s Bench. The court can insist on compliance, waive compliance, or do something in between those extremes.
If the candidate submits the disclosure forms and pays the fine, they will be ineligible to run for three years; if they don’t, the ban extends to eight years.
Reached on vacation, Busk told The Leader he didn’t do the filing because he didn’t have any campaign contributions. He didn’t even spend any of his own money on the 2021 campaign, he said, so “I didn’t think much about it.”
If it is such a big deal, Busk questions why it took until now for anybody to say anything about it. It doesn’t matter much to him, he said, because he has no intention of running again. But to somebody who does, it could be quite a blow.
King says she did file her disclosure paperwork, and well before the March. 1, 2022 deadline, “which is why I’m confused as to why I’m even on the list.”
Lokken had not responded by press time.