Following the 1995 General Election, a Commission of Inquiry was held into alleged infractions of The Elections Act and The Elections Finances Act. In his March 29, 1999 report, Commissioner Alfred M. Monnin recommended that all parties voluntarily prepare and implement a code of ethics.
Elections Manitoba discussed this recommendation with all of Manitoba's registered political parties and it was agreed that, apart from parties' own codes of ethics, a common code of ethical conduct could be developed that would foster confidence in the integrity and fairness of the electoral process.
The following code was developed through consensus with the political parties.
The Shared Code of Ethical Conduct sets out guiding principles and specific practices that establish the framework for ethical conduct expected of participants in the political process.
The Shared Code of Ethical Conduct is founded on a deep and enduring respect for the democratic process and compliance with election laws that codify the rules for elections and campaigning. Ethical conduct in the political process embraces fundamental democratic principles including the right to vote, the secret ballot, accessibility to voting, the right to be a candidate, organization of political parties, the independent administration of elections, freedom from intimidation in the exercise of democratic rights, honesty and truthfulness in political campaigning, and transparent and accurate public disclosure of political finances.
All political participants accept the responsibility to act in such a manner as to maintain and enhance public confidence in the integrity of the political process. This Code will assist the public in assessing the ethical conduct of political participants.
This Code applies to all political parties and independent candidates that have declared an intention to adhere to its guiding principles and rules of conduct. The Code applies to all elected representatives, candidates, persons seeking to become candidates, constituency associations, office-holders, staff, party members, volunteers associated with the political party, and principal vendors and suppliers (hereinafter referred to as "Members") whenever they are acting as participants in the electoral process.
Party leaders and candidates undertake to actively promote compliance with this Code and, to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable, party leaders and candidates are expected to exercise authority over other Members to ensure the spirit and letter of the Code are applied.
This Code is not intended in any way to replace or limit the ethical standards of conduct expected of Members by their own political parties, personal ethical standards held by individual members, or otherwise applicable legal or professional standards which are not specifically referred to in this document.
This Code may be modified by consensus of the political parties that have declared an intention to adhere to the Code.
Nothing in this document alters the responsibility of all political parties and Members to promptly report any illegal activities to the appropriate authority. Suspected violations of The Elections Act or The Elections Finances Act are to be reported to the Chief Electoral Officer.
All Members subscribe to the principles of free and fair elections, will respect electoral laws, strive to maintain public confidence in the electoral process, and will uphold the democratic rights of Manitobans.
Knowledge and Adherence
Political parties shall make the Code available to their Members.
Members shall respect and adhere to the principles and rules of conduct set out in this Code and actively promote adherence to the Code on the part of other Members.
Respect for the Law
Members shall maintain and promote respect for Manitoba’s election laws. This involves complying with both the letter and spirit of the provisions of all election laws and regulations, including the administrative, regulatory and offence provisions of The Elections Act and The Elections Finances Act.
Members shall maintain and assist in maintaining the fair and proper administration of the vote, and the secrecy of the vote.
Members shall conduct themselves in a way that upholds the integrity of, and the public’s respect for, the electoral system.
Members shall make every effort to ensure that their conduct is above reproach. This means that they should not engage in conduct which could be regarded as unfair or unacceptable by reasonable, fair-minded and informed persons.
Members shall co-operate with election officials who are charged with the responsibility to conduct elections and administer campaign finance laws, and shall not interfere with election officials in the performance of their duties.
Members shall co-operate in responding completely and accurately to any inquiries or investigations undertaken by Elections Manitoba pursuant to Manitoba’s electoral legislation.
Members shall apply the Code with diligence, skill, and reasonable promptness.
Rules of Conduct
Members shall conduct themselves in a manner that respects the rights and legitimate democratic interests of all citizens, voters, political parties and Members, including Members of other political parties, and shall avoid behaviour that is likely to bring the electoral system into disrepute.
Members shall strive at all times to make public statements that are accurate and shall not make public statements that are defamatory with respect to another Member, leader, or any candidate of another political party, or another political party generally.
Members shall not make statements that they know to be untrue in their criticism of the platform, policy statements, positions, or otherwise of other political parties or the candidates of other political parties.
Members shall not knowingly make false statements about poll results, nor authorize interpretations of poll results that are inconsistent with the data available.
Advertising and Campaigning
Political parties and Members, in their advertising, campaigns and promotional material, shall strive at all times to make statements that are accurate and to avoid statements that are misleading or deceptive.
Members shall not sponsor advertising nor issue other promotional materials, such as pamphlets, brochures, handbills, newsletters, electronic messages, signs or posters, that make defamatory references to another Member, leader, or any candidate of another political party, or another political party generally.
Members shall not sponsor advertising nor other promotional material containing language or other visual representation that promotes hatred toward any individual or group.
Members shall not obstruct campaigning nor deface, destroy, prevent or obstruct the distribution of advertising or other promotional material of other political parties and rival candidates, nor shall such conduct on the part of other Members be encouraged, condoned or permitted.
Fund Raising Practices
Members shall not improperly pressure or corruptly induce prospective contributors to make contributions to any political party, candidate or constituency association by any direct or indirect threat or promise.
Political parties, candidates, constituency associations and Members required to publicly disclose political contributions and election spending shall do so according to The Elections Finances Act and in a manner which fairly, honestly and transparently discloses all financial activities.
Political parties, candidates, constituency associations and Members shall not enter into transactions or engage in accounting practices whose purpose is to alter the actual amount of election expenses incurred, avoid disclosure of actual or original contributors, or to improperly obtain the benefits of publicly funded tax credits or election expense reimbursement for themselves or for other Members.
Improper Influence of the Vote
Members of one political party shall not offer or give anything of value, including but not limited to financial, organizational or administrative assistance, to another political party or candidate for a corrupt purpose.
Members shall not, directly or indirectly through another person, offer or give anything of value to a voter for the purpose of corruptly procuring the voter’s support.
Implementing the Code
This Code of Conduct contains a set of expectations and commitments freely entered into by political parties. Political parties commit to the importance of designating a specific authority for receiving complaints and an internal process, including sanctions, for implementing the Code. The Code will be self-regulated with good common sense and in good faith.
Party Review Process
Each political party shall designate an authority to receive and review complaints made against the political party and its Members.
Each political party shall create and make known a process by which complaints may be brought before the designated authority and a process by which matters will be reviewed and decided.
Responsibility to Report
All political parties and Members subscribe to the necessity and importance of reporting breaches of this Code and will do so in a prompt and diligent manner.
If the conduct of a political party or a Member would be likely to bring into question the integrity of the political party, or any of its Members, or the electoral process generally, it shall be reported to the designated authority within the political party.
Members will not make false, frivolous or vexatious complaints.
If it is determined by the designated authority within the political party that a complaint is well-founded, and the conduct in question is such that it would be likely to bring into disrepute the integrity of the political party, its Members or the electoral system in general, the political party shall repudiate the unethical conduct and may take any other action it feels is necessary.
If it is suspected by the designated authority that a breach of the law may have occurred, the matter shall be referred to the appropriate authority for investigation.