TORONTO – Nathalie Des Rosiers, MPP for Ottawa – Vanier, released the following statement:
“Ontarians need to be confident that decisions taken by this PC government are informed by the people that they will actually affect, not by the wealthy and well-connected few.
Buried within Schedule 13 of Bill 57 are amendments to the Election Finances Act, which have purposefully loosened oversights on corporate and union contributions into the political system. This is the return of cash-for-access in Ontario.
There are currently ambiguities in the legislation, which allow for the reimbursement of the value of a political contribution by a third party. The Ford government has also quietly removed mandatory donor certifications that their political contributions are being made with a donors own funds
I am seriously concerned that gaps in the language of the Election Finances Act can be manipulated to allow individuals to act as funnels for contributions from corporations and unions, or to simply be reimbursed for the cost of these contributions by companies, organizations, unions or wealthy associates.
The changes to the Elections Finance Act brought in under Bill 57 make these shady contribution practices notoriously hard to catch, and this was not done by mistake. Under the government’s changes, we simply cannot track if campaign finance laws are being broken or not anymore. This is not a partisan issue; it is objectively bad for democracy.
My private member’s bill, if adopted, would make this type of contribution reimbursement an offense, and reinstate a donor certification. The bill is ready, and the only thing missing from this government is political will to do the right thing.”