November 22, 2018 Sandy Shaw, MPP for Hamilton-West - Ancaster - Dundas rose in the house to protest changes to election financing that would allow for big money and remove transparency in Ontario politics.
Our electoral system is not not up for sale.
"We know through the bill that changes are coming to election financing, changes that can only amplify the impact of big money in Ontario politics. The previous [government was] pushed into introducing electoral finance reforms. These were reforms that ensured that our electoral system was democratic and that it was fair—that it was not up for sale. This government is intent on stripping back these reforms that were put in place, apparently as soon as possible, with this very first bill.
This government’s proposed changes to election financing will do nothing but diminish the democratic protections in Ontario that, yet again, are the responsibility of the government. It is [our] responsibility to protect the democratic principles, and the democratic rights of people in this province.
The latest language that is in this bill would remove the obligation of individuals to certify that the funds they are donating belong to them. That may not seem important, but it is actually quite significant.
In other words, [I] want to ensure that they are not being bankrolled by corporations by having people attest that the funds they are donating belong to them. Where is the transparency in allowing electoral donations from corporations to essentially be filtered through individual donations? Not only is this a huge step backwards, it’s part of a package of changes to electoral finances, a package that includes a 25% increase in the maximum donation amount and changes to the rules to once again allow, essentially, cash-for-access-style fundraising. There’s nothing transparent or accountable in helping big money—people with deep pockets—have even larger access to the government or an even larger presence in our politics."