Fife says Liberal are "stacking the deck" with Bill 201; NDP calls for greater fairness
NDP Finance Critic Catherine Fife says Liberal Bill 201 is designed to give significant advantages to the governing party, and the party with the wealthiest donors. New Democrats are tabling a series of amendments to Bill 201 that are focused on levelling the political playing field, and bringing greater fairness to Ontario's election rules.
As written, Bill 201:
• Leaves big money in politics, by allowing annual individual contributions of over $10,000 in certain circumstances, and annual individual contributions over $7,750 in most years;
• Allows cash for access fundraisers;
• Excludes most political contributions from Real-Time Disclosure;
• Allows partisan government advertising while restricting issue-based advertising;
• Leaves Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner unable to investigate the appearance of Conflict of Interest; and
• Gives cabinet the authority to change public financing (per vote subsidies) without any public consultation or tabling any legislation.
New Democrats are proposing a series of changes, which include an end to cash for access, lowering contribution limits and stopping the government from partisan advertising.
“All parties agree that it’s time to ban corporate and union donations, but Kathleen Wynne is using this as an excuse to ram through election rules that are all about helping the Liberal Party. These rules help the party in government, and they help the party with the richest donors,” said Fife. “The Premier is trying to write new election rules that will stack the deck in favour of the Liberal Party of Ontario. Ontarians deserve so much better than that kind of partisan game-playing with the basic rules of our democracy.”
“The Liberal party ensured that they have total control over the rules of our democracy by insisting the Liberal majority can ram through any changes it wants, and stop any changes that it doesn’t want. I’m calling on the Premier to show respect for Ontario’s democracy,” continued Fife. “People deserve a government that puts people ahead of partisan advantage.”
Fife sat on the Standing Committee on General Government as it heard testimony across Ontario. Because the bill can be fundamentally altered between first and second readings, Fife said it will be essential that the bill have a second round of province-wide consultations after it is debated at second reading, which is expected in the fall.