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Open letter: Immediate action needed on fundraising reform

Tue, 04/12/2016 - 08:45

To Hon. Premier Wynne;
 
People want big money out of politics now. Comprehensive fundraising reform is essential to renewing our democracy. 
 
I’m encouraged by your recent interest in changing the way we fund political parties.
 
It’s important to ensure that big corporations and well-heeled individuals are unable to buy access to power. The best way to do this is to eliminate corporate and union donations immediately. 
 
But we can’t stop there. It is essential to have a public financing system that is democratic and in the public interest. The current public financing system of donation tax credits further increases the influence of those with deep pockets. 
 
To create a more democratic system and get the corrosive influence of big money out of Ontario politics, we need to reduce donation limits and implement per-vote funding for parties.
 
We believe a comprehensive set of reforms is needed to restore trust in the integrity of government decision making. I’m pleased to offer a number of solutions to clean up political fundraising. I appreciate the opportunity to present them to you personally. 
 
We urge immediate action to take steps to restore public trust:

  • Immediately end corporate and union donations to provincial political parties and for municipal campaigns
  • Introduce per-vote funding as a more democratic way to fund political parties.
  • Lower annual contribution limits to match federal levels as a first step.
  • Restrict third-party advertising during writ and pre-writ periods.
  • Lower spending limits for political parties.
  • Close the loopholes that enable donors to exceed donation limits.
  • Improve disclosure and oversight rules.
  • Establish a transparent and public process for rules on televised leader’s debates.
  • Create an open and fair process for reform.

Premier, the time for action is now. Although the GPO supports a public consultation process and an inquiry into past practices, our focus is on implementing solutions without delay. People want reforms in place before the 2018 provincial election. 
 
I’ve attached a detailed explanation of our proposed solutions, and look forward to discussing these with you.
 
Regards,
 
Mike Schreiner
GPO Leader

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Backgrounder: Fundraising reform proposal>>