Question on eliminating the undue influence of money in Canadian politics

On Thursday, June 15th, 2017 in Debate, Parliament
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Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, it is true that political party leaders do fundraisers, and people buy tickets to come to those fundraisers. However, when the political party leader becomes the prime minister, there is a very large and important distinction to be made that we do not want government policy influenced by those who can get in the room.

Does it not seem to the parliamentary secretary that it is time to actually face the reality that to ensure that politics in this country is not contaminated by those with undue influence through access of all kinds, but particularly for cash, it is time to have public financial support for political parties at a low level, to reduce the amount of spending political parties can do in terms of buying advertising during election campaigns, and to otherwise overhaul the system to eliminate, once and for all, the spectre of deep pockets influencing government?

Andy Fillmore – Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for her excellent question and for her devotion to this place and this work.

As I dwelt on in the opening part of my earlier speech, this government feels, and I personally feel, that political fundraising is a fundamental part of our democracy. Canadians feel that when they support a party of their choice, whether it is through volunteering or through financial support, they are participating in the grandness of democracy in Canada. That is something that we are not looking to change yet.

What we are trying to do is to make sure that all sources of fundraising over $200 are clear to all Canadians so that Canadians can continue to have confidence in this democracy, regardless which party is raising the funds.

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  • Gary Strachan

    Advertising and volunteer campaigning is only the tip of the iceberg. The real place that political funding has an impact is behind closed doors. I’ve often felt that the Three P partnerships might be better named Public Private Patronage. Perhaps large political donors could be barred from bidding on government goods, services or contracts? Even worse are some of the provisions in international trade deals. How did we get suckered into a deal that if a crown corporation is privatized it can never again return to government ownership? How did we get suckered into an agreement that allows a foreign company to sue even if he thinks he might – someday – be handicapped by government policy?
    Follow the money.

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