News

By-election challenge: don’t accept corporate or union donations

Tue, 08/09/2016 - 12:00

(Scarborough): The Green Party issued a challenge to all parties today: will the Liberals, NDP and PCs agree to only accept donations from individuals, not corporations and unions, during the Scarborough Rouge River by-election?
 
“People want big money out of politics,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner. “The coming changes to tighten fundraising rules are a good step but the other parties shouldn’t be using by-elections to cash in before changes become law.”
 
“The Green Party’s by-election campaign will not accept corporate or union donations. The other parties have agreed that accepting corporate donations is a problem - will they show their commitment and stop accepting these donations now?”
 
The Green Party will also not use the existing loophole in fundraising rules that allow contributors to double their $9,975 annual contribution limit to a political party during a by-election. The Liberals used this loophole to raise $1.6 million in the Whitby-Oshawa by-election earlier this year, even though the campaign spending limit was $142,700.
 
Bill 201 currently being considered by the Legislature would ban corporate and union donations and close the loophole that allows contributors to double their donation. The Premier last week challenged parties to avoid exploiting this loophole, even though the Liberals have used the loophole to raise $6.8 million in the last three by-elections. 
 
“The Liberal shake down of corporate insiders and rich donors is on steroids right now,” says Schreiner. “It is hypocritical to continue to accept donations from corporations, unions and rich insiders during this by-election after being shamed into proposing legislation to tighten fundraising rules.”
 
GPO leader Mike Schreiner has led the charge to get big money out of Ontario politics. The GPO plans to use the by-election to highlight flaws in the Liberal’s fundraising reform bill.
 
“My campaign will not accept corporate or union donations. I will only accept donations from individuals under the contribution limits, not double the limit,” says GPO candidate Priyan De Silva. “I challenge the other parties and candidates to do the same.”
 
“Most of my neighbours don’t have an extra $19,000 to donate. Access to politicians should be available to everyone, not only to those who can afford fancy fundraising dinners,” adds De Silva. 
 
The GPO is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and good public policy to Queen’s Park.