Liberals seek to close loopholes in recent fundraising law
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TORONTO — Ontario's Liberal government is taking steps to close loopholes in its relatively new political fundraising rules.
The law, which came into effect this year, bans corporate and union donations, lowers maximum individual donations and bans members of the provincial legislature, party leaders, premier's office staff and cabinet ministers' chiefs of staff from attending fundraisers.
It also bans people who are running for a party's nomination and official candidates, but makes no mention of people who had won a nomination but who hadn't yet become a registered candidate, which only happens in an election period.
Amendments introduced today — and tacked onto a bill to create two new northern Ontario ridings — would fix that as well as a few other loopholes.
That follows a complaint the Liberals made about a fundraiser attended by nominated Progressive Conservative candidates.
Elections Ontario informed the Liberals that, according to the legislation they wrote, nomination candidates could in fact attend fundraising events between the end of their nomination meeting and the day the writ is dropped.
The amendments would also allow "political actors" to be at events where the ticket price merely covers the cost of hosting them — as long as they have been advertised as cost-recovery events. Politicians banned from fundraisers were already allowed to attend such events, but Progressive Conservative Lisa MacLeod complained this summer to Elections Ontario about an event attended by Tory defector Jack MacLaren.
The event in question was billed as a fundraiser by his new party, the Trillium Party, MacLeod wrote, but MacLaren later reportedly said it was not one.