NEWS
04/03/2016 13:48 EDT | Updated 04/04/2017 01:12 EDT

Wynne asks to meet Ontario opposition leaders on political fundraising reform

TORONTO — Premier Kathleen Wynne wants a meeting this week with Ontario's opposition leaders to talk about reforming the province's political fundraising rules.

Wynne has sent a letter to Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath saying she wants to get their input on finance reform.

The premier's letter comes after both opposition leaders said they don't want the Liberal government coming up with new political financing rules on their own.

Wynne denies accusations that lobbyists are buying access to her and Liberal cabinet ministers at expensive and exclusive dinners and receptions, but promises to come up with new rules by this fall.

However, she says there will have to be a phase-in period and not all the changes to the fundraising rules will be implemented before the next election in 2018.

Wynne says she wants to follow the federal model and phase out corporate and union donations and reduce the amount individuals can contribute to parties and candidates, but hasn't said if taxpayers would subsidize parties under the new rules.

Federal contribution rules allow individuals to 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. Former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Christine Elliott received a single donation of $100,000 in 2014.

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Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press