Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne has refrained from asserting that she would ban cash-for-access fundraising immediately despite growing criticism of the controversial practice. The cash-for-access events allow corporate and union leaders to pay up to $10,000 to spend time with Ms. Wynne and members of her cabinet. According to the Premier, she was “very open to having that conversation” on the future of the practice, but repeatedly would not commit to ending it.
The Premier pointed out that a legislative committee is reviewing the Liberals’ campaign finance reform, Bill 201. The proposed law tends to end corporate and union donations, and reduce contribution limits, but would not ban paying for access. In her remarks, Wynne alleged that “I look forward to what comes back from the discussion. All the parties are sitting on that committee and giving input, and people are coming from all parts of the province to make comments.” She added that “I look forward to the amendments.”
Upon inquiry about the controversy’s impact on her government’s reputation, the Premier replied: “We’re changing the rules. We recognize that the rules need to be modernized. That’s why the legislation is out for consultation after first reading.” However, Ms. Wynne have promised not to exploit a loophole in the current campaign finance law that would allow donors to give double their regular annual contribution during an upcoming by-election campaign in the Scarborough-Rouge River riding. She asserted that “we have made the decision that our party is not going to use the rule that’s been in place for many years in terms of being able to double the donations.”
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