TORONTO — Ontario's auditor general says advertising rules in the Liberal government's proposed election reforms could give the governing party a political advantage.
A legislative committee is holding hearings over the summer on the bill, so changes can still be made.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne arrives for a meeting of provincial premiers in Whitehorse, Yukon on July, 21, 2016. (Photo: Jonathan Hayward/CP)
But Bonnie Lysyk says the bill, as written, could limit advertising spending during elections and in the six months prior for third parties and political parties, but not the government.
The bill would limit third-party political advertising to $100,000 during elections and $600,000 in the six months leading up to an election, while political parties could spend $1 million in those six months.
'The government would be able to spend millions of dollars'
On the other hand, Lysyk says, "the government would be able to spend millions of dollars ensuring multiple advertising campaigns reach as many viewers as possible without any limits."
The auditor general has frequently criticized changes the Liberals made to government advertising rules last year, saying they force her to approve ads even if she thinks they are partisan.