A $100,000 dinner not part of democracy.

The other day, Premier Kathleen Wynne defended a $100,000 fund-raising dinner for the Ontario Liberal government. She said that fundraising such as this is all part of democracy. What it is, in fact, is a corruption of democracy and should never be allowed. It is indefensible. The money should be returned to the dozen or so energy industry suppliers by the Liberal Party in Ontario with a polite, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

This type of politics has gone on for far too long in Ontario and it goes against every tenet of democracy. It perverts the basis of one-person, one-vote. It cries out of possible corruption. And it perverts the very core of our political system. Without proper controls on political donations, democracy is pushed aside.

We really do not want to live in a province ruled by money instead of the people. Yet we allow unelected hangers-on at Queen’s Park to dictate to the politicians and to set and control the political agenda. Since the days of Premier Oliver Mowat, Ontario seems to have been enslaved to a Family Compact that concentrates the power in a few. With the exception of one-term regimes such as the 1919 to 1923 stewardship of Premier E.C. Drury, Ontario Premiers appear to have had to be approved by that Compact.

The Family Compact started out as major landowners and gradually transitioned to major resources, financial and industrial interests through their surrogate lawyers. These interests had lost control of the federal parties prior to the present Conservatives because of federal election funding reforms in the latter half of the 20th Century.

In Ontario, funding by corporations and unions continues to be excessive and leaves politicians open to questionable relationships. Also the very fact of allowing third party interference in elections is of questionable legality and this has been a sham and disgrace.

All three major parties understand the weaknesses of the Ontario election and funding rules and each, for their own benefit, fail to bring it forward. We need pressure from the ranks of the political parties for the problems to be fixed. A good time is in the dying days of a government that knows it cannot win re-election. Then, why not fix it? Why leave the advantages for others? The Wynne government should take note.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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