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Elections commissioner clears NDP in 2013 byelection mailings

Yves Côté has cleared the federal NDP of any wrongdoing related to mass mailings sent into four ridings during 2013 byelections.
Yves Côté has cleared the federal NDP of any wrongdoing related to mass mailings sent into four ridings during 2013 byelections. Jonathan Hayward / The Canadian Press files

OTTAWA – The commissioner of elections has cleared the federal NDP of any wrongdoing related to mass mailings sent into four ridings in the midst of byelections in 2013.

Yves Côté has concluded no offence was committed, he wrote in a letter to NDP national director Anne McGrath.

One of the mailings, to voters in the Manitoba riding of Provencher, was sent outside the official byelection campaign period, Côté said.

READ MORE: Elections Canada clears NDP on use of parliamentary resources in byelections

Two others, to voters in Toronto Centre and the Montreal riding of Bourassa, were sent out two days before the byelections were called and could not be stopped, despite what Côté said were “genuine efforts” by the NDP to recall them.

Other mass mailings to residents of Bourassa and the Manitoba riding of Brandon-Souris were sent within the official campaign period but were properly reported as campaign expenses by the NDP, Côté said.

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READ MORE: Byelection 2013 results: Toronto-Centre, Bourassa, Brandon-Souris and Provencher

Côté said his office did not pursue complaints from other parties that the NDP used free parliamentary mailing privileges to distribute the partisan missives, a matter not regulated by the Elections Act.