Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne holds a cabinet meeting during a photo opportunity at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (Photo: Darren Calabrese/CP)
"It's the party that raises the money. It's the party that works with all the members to support their fundraising efforts, and it's the same for all of the parties at the provincial level."Ontario is looking at the federal political donation rules, which have much lower maximum limits than the province, and also have an outright ban on contributions from companies and unions. "We are going to be looking at the federal model, where corporate and union donations have been disallowed, and that's where we're going," said Wynne. "There will be a transition into that, and that plan will be brought forward in the fall." Wynne said the new rules will also address so-called third party advertising. In recent Ontario elections, unions joined together under the Working Families banner and spent more than any political party to buy attack ads against the Progressive Conservatives.
'Something must be done': BrownNDP Leader Andrea Horwath doesn't want Wynne and the Liberals to come up with new political donation rules without input from the opposition parties, the chief electoral officer and the public. But Wynne suggested her political opponents can react to the changes the government makes, but not have input as they're drafted. "We will be bringing forward a plan that there'll be commentary from all sides," she said. "I'll be interested to hear their commentary." Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown said "something must be done" to change the way Ontario parties raise money, which he warns leads to the perception that cabinet ministers make decisions based on who attends their fundraisers. The federal contribution rules are simple: people can contribute a maximum of $1,525 to each party annually, plus another $1,525 in total to all the registered associations and candidates of each party. In Ontario, people, companies and unions can donate $9,775 to a party each year, another $9,975 to the party for each campaign period, plus $6,650 annually to constituency associations of any one party. They can also donate $6,650 to candidates of any one party in a campaign, but no more than $1,330 to a single candidate. Ontario also has no limits on contributions to political leadership candidates. One young man made a single donation of $100,000 to former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Christine Elliott in 2014.
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