If you ever want to teach a class of neophyte politicians how to raise the funds they will need, you should start with lectures by municipal politicians. This is where basic fund-raising begins. It is also why I have always been a proponent of funding politics through the Canada Revenue Agency.
This comes to mind after hearing the two Ontario liberal leadership candidates, who are federal MPs, challenging Bonnie Crombie’s fund-raising skills. Crombie is mayor of a city of over 800,000 and what she (or her team) would not know about fund-raising, probably hasn’t been invented yet. The low-hanging fruit for municipal politicians are the developers.
There is a story in this subject that goes back more than 50 years. It was my suggestion to the Ontario liberal party executive at the time, that the 75,000 paid-up members of the party, both federal and provincial, be asked to help fund a couple provincial by-elections. This was a novel suggestion back then and it caused a good deal of discussion around the boardroom table. The result was that I got the funds to test a mailing to our membership asking for funds. The treasurer of the party thought I was crazy but he actually was quite helpful in getting out the mailing.
I will have you know that the results of the request not only paid the cost of the mailing and could have bought lunch for the board—but not dinner.
I was not there for all the party arguments over fund-raising since but there were many efforts made by liberals to clean house. There seems to have been a tradition for the liberals to fix the problem and the conservatives to make it worse.
When Justin Trudeau made the scene in our current century, I was under the impression that he had a fix in mind. When he disavowed the liberals in the Senate and got the party to eliminate membership fees, he frankly had me puzzled. And then when he started using the supposedly free-of-a-fee liberal party supporters as his personal piggy bank, I got mad. The flood of e-mail pleas for donations became so annoying that I canceled the $5 per month that I had been giving the party for years.
I am a senior on a fixed income. What people such as I bring to the party is our experience. If you are not satisfied with that, then take us off your lists.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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