GreenPAC's president and founder, Aaron Freeman, said some third-party organizations with a partisan bent have emerged and that subverts — rather than supports — Canadian democracy.
GreenPAC has a non-partisan mandate to help elect environmental supporters, but the group does not run attack ads and supports efforts to reduce money in politics, Freeman said.
"We actually don't want to see money as a determining factor in an election campaign," he said. "We think that's undemocratic."
The group's call for pre-election spending caps and disclosure rules, which currently come into play only after the writ is dropped, are supported by former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley.
Kingsley, who recently decried the lack of regulation for the pre-writ period, argues Canada's election regime is being dismantled by the groups that want to spend money.
"They're just leaving that aside and saying, 'We don't care,'" he said.
Kingsley fears Canada is going down a path similar to the U.S., where so-called political action committees — known as PACs — raise and spend enormous sums of money to try to sway political outcomes.
Third-party groups can currently accept money in the pre-writ period without having to disclose dollar figures or where donations come from.
Kingsley is also adamant political parties and the federal government should halt advertising in a determined pre-writ period to ensure there is a level playing field.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper once advocated for unlimited third-party spending during elections and went as far as to take his challenge to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The court upheld the spending limits suggesting it would be easy for parties and candidates to circumvent their expense limits by relaying their message through political parties.
Freeman was an intervener in that case.
He also said GreenPAC would like disclosure obligations to apply to people running attack ads.
"If you're running an attack ad that is supporting or opposing a party or a candidate ... I think Canadians have a right to know who is supporting that ad," Freeman said.
"For us, the democratic principle is really what is at stake here ... it is an across-the-board principle that no party should be given that kind of a loophole to deliver their message through a third-party."
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