Ontario Government introduces strict, new rules for campaign donations.
Provincial riding associations will receive public money for campaigns and MPPs and candidates will be banned from attending political fundraisers under campaign finance amendments announced by the Ontario government yesterday.
The amendments are to the Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act, which was reintroduced in the legislature on this fall. The bill has passed Second Reading in the legislature, and has been referred to the Standing Committee on General Government for review.
During the committee process due to begin next week, the government intends to introduce two new legislative amendments that, if approved by the committee, will be added to the bill:
- Banning MPPs, candidates, party leaders, nomination contestants and leadership contestants from attending political fundraising events. This restriction would not apply to non-fundraising events or events where tickets are sold only to cover the cost of the event. It would also not impact funds raised by other means, e.g., by phone or email.
- Providing an allowance to constituency associations to offset fundraising revenues that they would no longer receive due to the reforms in the bill. Registered constituency associations in each riding would divide $25,000 per year (indexed annually), based on the proportion of votes each registered candidate received in the most recent election.
With 122 ridings up for grabs in the June 7, 2018, election, that means it will cost an additional $3 million annually.
That’s atop the annual $2.71-per-vote subsidy the major political parties will receive beginning next year.
Under that formula — based on the results of the 2014 election — the Liberals, with 1,863,974 votes, would get $5.06 million annually, the Progressive Conservatives, with 1,508,811 votes, $4.09 million, the NDP, with 1,144,822 votes, $3.1 million, and the Green Party of Ontario, with 232,536 votes, $630,000.
The public money for riding associations is designed to help parties and riding associations deal with the fallout of annual riding contribution limits being cut to $1,200 a person — down from the current $9,975 — and the outright ban on union and corporate donations. Donors may also give $1,200 to central parties and another $1,200 for by-elections.
The new law would also limit third-party advertising – such as direct union or corporate donations – to $100,000 in advertising during elections and $600,000 in the six preceding months. There would be a $1-million spending limit during that period for political parties.
Opposition politicians expressed concern that because political staffers — such as chiefs of staff and ministerial policy advisors — would still be allowed to attend fundraisers, the proposed reforms would be undermined.
The opposition also criticized the fact that elected officials and candidates would continue to be allowed to engage in fundraising by phone or email.
Projected Ontario Legislative Business for Thursday, Oct. 27
Main Chamber Business
Ontario Legislature Committee meetings for Thursday, Oct. 27
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