February 3rd, 2020

NDP calls for investigation into “Vaughan Working Families” ads

Ads appear to violate political advertising law

QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP has called on Elections Ontario to investigate advertising by a group calling itself “Vaughan Working Families.” The anonymous group placed full-page political advertisements that attack teachers in weekend newspapers — ads which appear to violate Ontario’s political advertising laws.

Published during two by-elections in Ottawa, these suspicious ads may break the rules that prohibit this kind of dark money politics during an election in Ontario. Third party political advertisers have to be registered, and cannot spend more than $4,000 on the ads.

“Vaughan Working Families looks like a shell group, and Ontarians deserve to know where the piles of money to attack teachers is coming from,” said MPP Taras Natyshak (Essex), the NDP’s Ethics and Accountability Critic. “Third parties have to play by the rules in Ontario, and Doug Ford can’t look the other way so his buddies can use PC Party messaging to attack teachers and help his agenda of cuts to education.

“I’ve written to Elections Ontario to request that the commissioner immediately investigates whether and how these advertisements break the rules, and who is behind them.”

Ontario’s Elections Finances Act makes it clear that political advertising should be transparent and accountable, unlike the full-page ads found in Saturday’s Globe and Mail, National Post and Toronto Star, which attack teachers during ongoing strikes caused by Doug Ford’s cuts to education.