It's part of a Liberal Party fundraising initiative.
The role and influence of money in the political process has long been antagonistic to a fully democratic electoral system. Political parties must raise money from party supporters to maintain an organization, promote various messages and compete in elections, but it matters where that money comes from and how it is raised.
The Ontario Liberal government has introduced legislation that will ban corporate, union and association political contributions and impose lower limits on those made by individuals. I am agnostic about this fundraising issue. In many ways, Ontario's current system works. All donations are made public. There are limits to how much each organization can give. Lobby rules require advocates to disclose their activities on a public registry. It is far less underground than people think.
The status quo parties at Queen's Park have laser-sharp focus when it comes to attacks on each other's fundraising practices. The accusations they are throwing around ask who is selling access to whom. The truth: none of the three parties at Queen's Park have a clean record on donations. I support calls for inquiries into past practices and committees to consult the public, but I don't want these efforts to delay passing legislation to transform the system. Fixes should be in place before the 2018 provincial election. We need transformational change now to get the stink out of Queen's Park.
Improving political fundraising regulations in Ontario, British Columbia and other provinces with outdated or overly opaque regulations doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. Here are five easy fixes that would have immediate benefits.
But it certainly appears that Premier Wynne has put out a big for sale sign by hosting high-priced private dinners for deep-pocketed insiders. Sadly, the premier has defended the indefensible by saying that corporate fundraising is part of the political process. She has attempted to justify her high-priced private dinners by claiming that everyday citizens have the same access as those ponying up $6,000 a plate. If this true, then for that price people must be getting some extra fine food. The premier and the political establishment dismiss critics of corporate fundraising by hiding behind the rules. Well, I say the rules stink.
What legislation like the Fair Elections Act reminds us is that in the realm of electoral law, America and Canada are, in fact, noticeably different. Though the reasons why are more complicated and nuanced than the simplistic narratives we're usually given.
Elections Canada has released the political fundraising numbers for the first quarter of 2012 and Jack Layton's estate was
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan to kill public subsidies of federal political parties will hurt his own party’s pocketbook