Lower Donation Limits to Get Big Money Out of Politics
(Queen's Park:) Lower donation and spending limits for political parties, says Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner.
“People with deep pockets can still buy access by donating far more than the average person can afford,” says Schreiner. “Instead of playing political games by banning corn roasts, the Liberals should simply lower donation limits to get big money out of Queen’s Park.”
The Green Party is calling on the government to lower donation limits to $300 each for parties, riding associations and candidates, which would cap donations under $1,000 per year. Currently, Bill 2 allows people to donate $3,600 to a party and its associations.
Bill 2, Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act, 2016 contains many reforms that the Green Party championed. But Schreiner believes the bill needs further changes to ensure people can have confidence that government decisions are not driven by party fundraising.
Lowering donation limits creates a more level playing field. It will accomplish this without needing the Liberal’s silly proposed ban on all MPPs and candidates from attending local fundraisers.
The goal of election finance reform should be to stop cash for access through high end fundraising events that don’t pass the stink test. This does not require a ban on local corn roasts and BBQs that give an opportunity for voters to meet and talk with their MPP or candidate for a nominal fee.
“The Liberals need to stop acting like a petty child blaming others when their hand was caught in the cookie jar,” says Schreiner. “Instead, they simply need to deliver the reform people expect and our democracy needs.”
The Greens are also calling on the government to lower spending limits to the same as those in Quebec. Lowering spending limits to Quebec levels would reduce the amount of money a party can spend by around $1 million.
“Lower spending limits reduces the pressure for parties to raise big money,” says Schreiner. “And an added benefit is that we will hopefully see fewer attack ads.”
The Green Party is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and good public policy to Queen’s Park.