section 121(2)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

It is illegal to offer valuable consideration to influence the outcome of an election in order to obtain or retain a government contract.

SECTION WORDING

121(2) Every one commits an offence who, in order to obtain or retain a contract with the government, or as a term of any such contract, whether express or implied, directly or indirectly subscribes or gives, or agrees to subscribe or give, to any person any valuable consideration (a) for the purpose of promoting the election of a candidate or a class or party of candidates to Parliament or the legislature of a province; or (b) with intent to influence or affect in any way the result of an election conducted for the purpose of electing persons to serve in Parliament or the legislature of a province.

EXPLANATION

Section 121(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada, also known as the Corruption of Foreign Officials Act, is designed to prevent individuals and organizations from using bribery or other forms of corruption to obtain or retain government contracts. It is an offence for anyone to offer or agree to offer any valuable consideration, whether directly or indirectly, to any person for the purpose of promoting the election of a candidate or party to Parliament or a provincial legislature. The law is intended to prevent corruption in the political process and to ensure that government contracts are awarded based on fair and transparent processes. It is particularly important in cases where government officials have the power to award lucrative contracts and there is a risk that such officials may be influenced by bribes or other forms of corruption. Penalties for violating section 121(2) can be severe and may include fines and/or imprisonment. The law is also enforceable against individuals and organizations outside of Canada who engage in corrupt activities that affect Canadian interests. Overall, section 121(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada plays an important role in upholding the integrity of the political process and ensuring that government contracts are awarded based on merit rather than corrupt practices.

COMMENTARY

Section 121(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a significant piece of legislation that aims to prevent individuals and organizations from engaging in corrupt practices with the government to gain or retain contracts. The section prohibits the giving or subscribing of valuable consideration by any individuals or organizations to any person for the purpose of promoting the election of a candidate or party of candidates or with an intention to influence or affect the result of any election conducted to elect persons to serve in Parliament, or the legislature of a province. The section is significant in the sense that it seeks to prohibit any activity that could undermine the fairness and transparency of the electoral process and democratic governance. Corruption in the form of bribes, gifts, or other forms of valuable consideration given to politicians or political parties in exchange for favours, can compromise the independence and accountability of public institutions, and erode public trust in the electoral process. Furthermore, the section reflects the Canadian government's commitment to upholding democratic principles and facilitating electoral integrity by deterring the corruption of public officials through graft and gifts. This approach implies that the government believes in open competition in the marketplace to ensure the most advantageous contracts for all parties concerned. On the other hand, one could argue that the section leaves a grey area as it is applicable only to direct or indirect transactions related to financial or valuable goods or services. This raises the question of whether other forms of influencing electoral processes that are not connected explicitly to the exchange of monetary or valuable benefits - such as online micro-targeting, deepfakes, or fake news - should fall within the ambit of the provision. In today's era of rapidly evolving technology, sophisticated campaigns and machinations could undermine elections just as quickly as bribes and corruption. In conclusion, Section 121(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a critical piece of legislation intended to prevent corruption in public affairs, promote transparency, and uphold the integrity of Canada's democracy. However, there is a need to reevaluate it in light of new forms of electoral interference which are not explicitly related to financial matters. Nonetheless, the government's commitment to safeguarding the democratic process and upholding integrity and transparency in governance and public procurement is praiseworthy.

STRATEGY

The Criminal Code of Canada, in Section 121(2), prohibits giving or promising to give valuable consideration to anyone with the purpose of promoting the election of a candidate or influencing election results in order to obtain or retain a government contract. This provision of the law has serious implications for organizations that conduct business with the government. Thus, it is important for these organizations to carefully consider the strategies they employ to comply with this law. One effective strategy is to establish a detailed compliance program that ensures all activities and interactions with government officials and politicians fully conform to the law. Such a compliance program could include mandatory training for all employees, clear policies on gifts and entertainment, and regular monitoring and auditing procedures. Another critical strategy is to maintain transparency in all dealings with the government, politicians, and other third parties. Companies must be careful not to engage in any activities that could be perceived as attempts to influence or manipulate elections, including avoiding hidden political donations and concealment of political activities from the public. It is also important to engage legal counsel for guidance and advice on navigating compliance issues related to section 121(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada. Legal counsel can provide necessary support for developing strategies that mitigate the risk of violating the law. Moreover, legal counsel can help to ensure that all business dealings with the government are fully compliant, and the company can avoid any undue legal repercussions. Finally, it is important for organizations to conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential areas of vulnerability and ensure that adequate control mechanisms are in place. Organizations must remain vigilant and respond quickly to any emerging compliance issues to ensure that they remain fully compliant with section 121(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada. In conclusion, companies must consider several strategic considerations when dealing with section 121(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada. Establishing compliance programs, maintaining transparency, engaging legal counsel, and conducting regular risk assessments are all strategies that can ensure compliance. If properly followed, these strategies can help companies ensure their compliance with the law, and avoid any potential legal penalties associated with this section of the Criminal Code of Canada.