Level playing field needed

It’s not often when I have an ideological disagreement with the esteemed Stephen Taylor, but on the subject of Third Party spending limits I must take issue (“Tim Hudak shirks ideology for expediency.”)

Stephen seems to feel that Tim Hudak is selling out by backing the Ontario Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa’s recommendation that third-party election-period spending and contribution limits be reviewed with an eye to tightening up the rules.

Since Stephen is Director at the National Citizens Coalition I can understand his concern about what he sees as an impediment to free speech, but the reality is that union-based Third Parties hold incredible financial clout and can seriously undermine a perceived ‘enemy’ during the writ period.

We saw that with ‘Working Families’ and the ETFO in the last election.

The Sun has the numbers:

The 2011-12 Elections Ontario annual report filed with the legislature on Monday says that “third parties” spent more than $6 million on election advertising, a three-fold increase over the 2007 campaign.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) was the biggest spender with a political advertising budget of $2.7 million, followed by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) at $1.9 million and the Working Families Coalition at $1 million.

Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa is recommending an independent body be established to look at third-party spending and contribution limits, stronger reporting requirements for third parties and stricter registration and anti-collusion provisions.

“The current rules for third parties are inconsistent with how other political entities are treated under the Election Finances Act,” the annual report states.

“Candidates, constituency associations and political parties are all subject to annual campaign reporting requirements, as well as campaign period spending limits and annual campaign contribution limits.”

At the very least there should be full financial disclosure and ideally a chance for union members to opt out. But as I noted in a comment at Stephen’s blog I doubt that kind of legislation would ever get passed in this current Lib-Dipper minority Government.

*   *   *   *

Update to the Gas Plant Scandal

Vic Fedeli is doing a stellar job:

This entry was posted in 'Working Families', Big Unions, elections, Lemmings love Fiberals, Liberal machine, Liberal Party of Toronto, Ontario election, Ontario government, Ontario Politics, scandals, Tim Hudak, Your tax-dollars. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Level playing field needed

  1. Blame Crash says:

    I’m with Stephen. The so called medicine is much worse that the disease.

  2. Richco says:

    Third party spending limits and reach are out of control.
    I’m all for stronger reporting requirements and spending limits, but I’m most in favour of not just full disclosure re: the who’s who of these third party organizations, but let’s go further than that an break open the books on the heads of the unions and organizations in question so that those who contribute dues or funding to them can see where their money goes.

    I’m pretty sure that when Stephen Harper was heading up the NCC he’d never agree to this either and he was VERY effective in his support and the NCC message back then.

  3. Mary T says:

    Since Gov Scott Walker passed Right to Work Laws union membership has fallen by over 30%. Maybe we need those laws in Canada. With millions less coming in from dues unions will have a huge problem funding all those protests, and advertizing stuff.

    • Joanne says:

      Tim Hudak is certainly in favour of Right To Work but that won’t have a chance as long as the lefty parties are in charge.

      • Joanne says:

        And federally we have a hope of accountability with C-377 which I think is awaiting Senate approval.

        • frmgrl says:

          I agree, accountability is the key. Once C-377 is law, and unions are forced to post how they spend union dues from the rank and file members, not too many of those rank and file members will be too pleased. They can then pressure the union brass not to spend their money on political activities.
          I hope too, there is a government in the country somewhere who will take unions on and bring in “right to work” legislation. I don’t care what province starts it or even if it’s the feds but someone needs to get the ball rolling. I believe if it happens in one jurisdiction, others will follow suit.

          • Mary T says:

            Sort of off topic, just announced 3 million cars being recalled due to air bag malfunctions or something. Human error in manufacturing is believed to be the cause. Who makes most of those cars, union members. Wonder what would happen if their bosses sued them for the cost of the recall.

  4. Bubba Brown says:

    C-377 is needed and necessary.
    Slightly OT I was struck while reading a quote from Sarah Pailin on Maggie Thatcher.

    British ambassador Sir Anthony Parsons recalled a conversation about this: “She said, ‘You know, Tony, I’m very proud that I don’t belong to your class.’ I said, ‘Prime Minister, what class do you think I belong to?’ She said, ‘I’m talking of course about upper-middle-class intellectuals who see everybody else’s point of view and have none of their own.’”
    Struck me because it red lined to me that Jr Pi Trudeau is both a member of that class and instead of policy wants to wander around Canada “listening to Canadians”
    He simply put does not have a point of view, has never had to work or to worry about money.
    The only thing he has or ever will be any good at is “being Justin” whatever that happens to be today.

    • Joanne says:

      In the life of Pi-man Trudeau his POV is whatever you want it to be – as long as you promise to vote for him.

      • Liz J says:

        Justin of Pi is definitely a Liberal, promise all things to all people and capture their votes. Keeping the promises is another story. We in Ontario know about that and we also know it works, people do not punish Liberals for lying, only Conservatives are kept to the higher standard of keeping promises or getting the boot.

  5. fh says:

    O/T violent protestors
    How should we demand this growing problem be handled by our Governments and Police?
    My suggestion is to take the passport and if not from the Country where protest is make sure they are returned to their Country and insist that the person never be permitted to travel to the Country where the violent protest occurred. Consideration should of course be given to holding them and their Country responsible for the financial cost and damage repair. Passport could be kept from 3 months. one year to 5 to 10 years or longer.
    we must start to address the violent protests.

  6. Gabby in QC says:

    I wonder what another Stephen, Stephen Harper that is, thinks now about third party election-period spending as opposed to when he was then-president of the NCC.

    I’m assuming, perhaps wrongly, that PM-elect Harper did not relish the thought of Danny Williams’ ABC campaign, nor the same type of campaign from faux-Canadian orgs. like Avaaz. I also doubt that Stephen Taylor, should he ever decide to embark on a political career, would welcome third parties’ efforts to prevent his election.

    As I’ve stated in the past — perhaps too often for some — absolute freedom of speech could have undesirable & unforeseeable consequences. I can understand allowing third parties to participate in electoral debates within very clearly defined limits. But untrammelled & unlimited spending? No.

    Here’s an interesting graphic on “The flow of political donations in Ontario”

    • Joanne says:

      I can understand allowing third parties to participate in electoral debates within very clearly defined limits. But untrammelled & unlimited spending? No.


      • Richco says:

        I’m pretty sure that when Stephen Harper was heading up the NCC he’d never agree to this either and he was VERY effective in his support and the NCC message back then.

        I was a member of the NCC back then and Harper’s NCC was a huge supporter of the organization I headed at that time that fought for the rights of parents in the education system and their right to choose schools for their kids.

        Harper’s tact back then was full frontal and in the gov’t’s face 24/7 and ramped up over election campaigns.

        • Gabby in QC says:

          I’m not sure I understand your comment.

          Just to clarify my previous comment & not to contradict anything in yours …
          When Stephen Harper was with the NCC, he went as far as the SC because he wanted no limits on third-party election-period spending. Now that he is in government, I think he may (I emphasize MAY, since I have no certain knowledge of the PM’s current position) have changed his mind, i.e. that there should be some limits on third-parties’ spending.

          Some may think a change in position in that regard or on any other issue, for that matter, as a “flip-flop”. I see it rather as dealing with a new reality: if facts & situations change, positions can & should change.

          • Liz J says:

            Gabby:”if facts & situations change, position can and should change”. It seems to me that’s what we can and should expect of our politicians.

            • Richco says:

              Gabby – I can’t be sure of course of what Harper thinks now. He may have changed his mind based on his position now based on the new reality that came with that job.

              Back when he headed the NCC their style was their appeal for many.

  7. Bubba Brown says:

    OT Can dancing with the stars be far behind?
    The gag and fail goess ga-ga over Pi

    • Martin says:


      With all the hoopla about Jr, it is interesting to see the odd comment suggesting his road to 24 Sussex may not be assured just yet. This story reports that only 15000 supporters in Quebec have bothered to register as voting Liberals, 1/5 the Ont number and even equal to Alta numbers on a per capita basis.
      I have mentioned before that the Trudeau legacy is viewed quite differently among some francophone Quebec voters. The sobering reality is Liberals now hold 7 seats in Montreal and west Quebec. Trudeau Sr. once won 74 of 75 before the populace turned on the Liberal brand. To be successful Jr will absolutely have to gain back some of those 75 seats and it won’t be easy.
      For me this says the Trudeau Jr phenomenon is largely a Toronto promoted campaign, some of his advisors are former McGuinty aides. Not for the first time, some media commentators may be confusing Toronto opinion with that of Canada as a whole.

    • Liz J says:

      Sorry Bubba I didn’t see your link before I commented below.
      They are a cute couple I’m sure and Sophie could well be his best asset. I’d advise him to keep dancing off into the wings and stay away from Pi. Now I’m left wondering if he sings or plays an instrument to give Liberal operatives more ammunition to sell the Shiny Pony.

  8. old white guy says:

    third parties if they are canadian should be allowed to spend as they please but every dime spent should identified with the party it is being spent in support of. the days where buying a beer gets your vote have long gone. we can pass all the laws we want but if someone has something to say that is the truth it should be heard….. fh, we have jails where violent protesters should be locked up.

    • fh says:

      yes they should SHOULD be locked up but the next day when they are released it should be without a passport for a period of time every time

    • fh says:

      Do you remember the American woman that threw a cream pie in the face of our Canadian Minister Gail Shea they said she would not be permitted back into Canada I was happy with that punishment I believe there was a time limit on her travel to Canada
      If she had had her passport confiscated for one year I would have been happier

  9. Greg says:

    The free speech issue is important. Maybe the solution is to not allow organizations to spend money unless authorized to do so by the members. They could split the dues into basic services and other things like political action, and allow the members to decide if they want to contribute dues beyond basic collective bargaining. Right to Work would be even better, but the above solution is being done in some states whether they havee right to work or not.

  10. ed says:

    Level playing field? Yes. Unions should stick to workers’ issues. If they want politics, let them quit and run for office. Unions were worthwhile in the past when they fought for the rights of the worker in the workplace.

    Heard there is a new “Dummies” book out. You know, “Accounting for Dummies”, “Windows for Dummies”, etc.. This one is called “Justin Trudeau for Dummies.” Gee, the publisher is bound to make loads of money considering the number of followers Trudeau supposedly has. Nothing like the blind leading the blind. :-)

  11. Joe says:

    As a strident Free Speecher I am very much in favor of third party limits. It is one thing to have your say it is another to have your words drowned out by a loud mouth with leather lungs in the form of a bags of cash. Unfortunately the real leather lungs are the media and they not only drown out points at variance to their own they silence those voices by not letting them speak at all.

    One last point: Does anyone seriously think we would have a Conservative government now if there were no third party limits federally?

  12. Liz J says:

    E-Health scandal, gas plant scandal, ORNG scandal, did they really happen or are they figments of our imagination?

    If anyone wants to see the Pi-man in motion go to BC Blue. Not sure if he’s got an itch or if he’s hoping to be invited to appear on Dancing with the stars.

    • Richco says:

      Ontario’s health minister needs to resign. She’s well past her best before date by at least 6 months. Calls for her resignation by both oppositions should be ringing through the chambers now IMO.

      How can Horwath prop up this government any longer? Shame on her.

      Re: Shiny Pony – the fawning is hilarious. We need some of those separated at birth shots. May I suggest that with his lovely hair an Afghan hound may be a most appropriate equivalent? Afghan’s are pretty but dumb. All hair and well, not much else.

      Actually, I have to say that I saw Justin’s wife Sophie interviewed a couple of times yesterday and thought that she’s better spoken and more down to earth than her husband. She could prove a real asset to him if they front her more and him less.

  13. Richco says:

    O/T Also in Ontario today. Looks like since the McWynnty gov’t caved re: the teachers unions that everyone else is getting in line with their hands out. Next up…LCBOhttp://www.torontosun.com/2013/04/10/lcbo-salaries-will-drive-you-to-drink

  14. MadMacs of Bytown says:

    Lowell Green on now with guest Dr. Ross McKittrick re the enormous cost impact of the failed McGuinty energy programs.

    Podcast will be available later at cfra.com

      • Liz J says:

        Will Don Martin or Solomon be talking about this or is it too sensitive to their sensibilities?

        It is Ontario , not federal, but Ontario was kind of important to the rest of Canada before McGuinty went batcrap Green crazy with eyesores called wind and solar “farms” which are destined to fail at providing affordable energy. A raise in power rates is going to chase more people and industry out of this god forsaken mess called Ontar-i-owe.

        • Martin says:

          I doubt it wery much, don’t ever recall seeing McKitrick on MSM TV. He and Steve McIntyre are the true Canadian heroes for debunking so much climate change dogma, like the hockey stick graph. CBC prefers to give space to a charlatan like Suzuki.

        • jon says:

          Rather doubtful that Solomon did. I saw part of his program but not all so I can’t say for sure. He did, however, do an interview with Deb Matthews, on a hook-up from Queen’s Park, discussing the chemo drug controversy. Funny thing too: in spite of the fact that she’s under fire, it was she and only she who was interviewed. No opposition MPs invited to the discussion — no explanation from Solomon either why this was the case. I mean, she was interviewed in the foyer so why not invite a PC and NDP MPP and have them seated next to her so they could all grill her? Oh, that’s right. It’s only when the FEDERAL health minnister is under fire would such a grilling take place — with Solomon himself serving the role as the 3rd opposition MP on the panel, as the “always fair” but tough host claims in those self-promotional ads where he shows us his acting skills by posing as a journalist.

          There’s a pattern with this guy in that he likes to block conservatives in particular from criticizing their opponents, just like he did with Justin when under fire for his “barbaric” comment and later his anti-Alberta remarks — in both instances, inviting Bob Rae on and only Rae to refute the criticism, before going to a break and changing topics upon return. No conservatives allowed to get their shots in.

          And he did the same with Andrew Cash, who himself was under fire by the tories for taking money from the CBC while he advocated on their be half at committees. Cash and only Cash interviewed… no MPs invited to counter his defense.

          Solomon’s a disgrace. I’m amazed that this guy can look Canadians in the eye through the lens and not even flinch from guilt and shame, in spite of the irrefutable evidence of his unfairness. People of his ilk are just wired differently and there’s no getting through to them.

          • Fay says:

            I agree,well said Jon!

            • Richco says:

              and you still tune in and add to their viewer numbers.

              I’ll never understand that.

              If as many viewers who tuned in and were frustrated as to the bias stopped or made alternative choices, their numbers would continue to dive…which they are, and perhaps consequences would be the result.

              • jon says:

                A new BLY thread has been opened so this will likely go unread but “consequences”? Last time I checked the CBC is a public broadcaster receiving a billion annually. We pay for it regardless. Aren’t you interested to see how something you are forced to pay for performs? Seems counterproductive to fork over money for something and not check up on how it’s doing, doesn’t it? And not sure how one is supposed to point out examples of “moderator” Solomon’s bias without actually watching him. SNN does a great job in exposing some of the CBC’s bias but doesn’t go far enough IMO… a lot gets missed by them.

                As for ratings, in case you haven’t noticed, Solomon’s legion of followers reside on the left, as evident by both the lopsided results of his online polls (always heavily slanted against the Tories) and the tweets posted on the graphic at the bottom of the screen… the later usually having a 10:1 anti-Tory bent to it. “Never trust a con”… “the cpc mp on the panel is deceiving cnds #corrupt” etc., etc. You and I tuning away doesn’t impact his ratings. But what it does do is give him and the CBC what they desire most, which is to have their critics not watching what they do daily… if only they could get SNN to adopt your approach, they’d be in the clear.

                And as for frustration, I hear you. I once adopted your head-in-the-sand approach toward CBC news until I realized that I was giving them exactly what they want. “You don’t like us, turn the channel”, they’ll say. Don Martin of PP also interviewed Deb Mathews one-on-one without having opp MPPs beside her nor explaining why, considering she was interviewed from QP‘s foyer, they weren’t invited. But I didn’t criticize him because CTV is a private network. Tune him away? Sure, that’s an individual’s choice. But I don’t believe taking that approach to the CBC is the correct one…. you help not hinder their agenda.

              • Joanne says:

                A new BLY thread has been opened so this will likely go unread

                You can always reference it in the new thread. 😉 In fact you can use this link: http://www.bluelikeyou.com/2013/04/10/level-playing-field-needed/#comment-112669

  15. Richco says:

    Sun Editorial Today – Ontario Liberal Green Energy pretty much sucks.

  16. Richco says:

    Libs. beating the Conservatives? Consider the source and timing of this one folks.

    • Richco says:

      I find the results of this Nanos poll suspect.
      Firstly, it appears that the fortunes of the Liberals have turned based on what exactly? Policy, leadership, experience of Prince Justin-Pi. Baseless.
      Secondly, neither the NDP or CPC have done anything at all to challenge at this point.
      Hopefully by Monday, reality will set in.

      • Liz J says:

        Appears the people polled are not concerned about the fate of the country if they’re willing to support the Liberals with no idea of what they stand for and with the presumptive heir to the leadership who has spouted nothing but platitudes and touting his Poppa’s “legacy”, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
        It turns out that Charter is superfluous in a monarchical democracy, which gives too much rein to the unelected judiciary, politicians readily run with their interpretations.

  17. fh says:

    Jo your twitter account is smoking hot love it

  18. Bubba Brown says:

    The last few times the Liberanos poll danced their way to poll vic-tory ………..oh wait a minute, the voting public dropped them quicker than a crazy girl/boy friend.
    Yup Dion the “green Giant” with the weirdly named dooog.
    Then Ignatieff the thinking woman’s stud muffin?
    Of course then bare ass Bob.
    Bear faced Muclair.
    PM Harper is shaking alright……..with laughter.
    The prince of Pi a product of superior breeding we are led to believe, who can’t tell his
    decimals from his decibels.
    Reminds me of a certain extremely attractive actress who was known for her beauty not her brains,.
    Anyway she propositioned G B Shaw saying if they had a child with her looks and his brains, it would be a world beater.
    G B Shaw looked at the pretty young thing and muttered yes, but.. what if it ends up with my looks and your brains.
    Gentle readers I give you Justinny the Pi Prince
    But hey he can dance ?
    I would like one of the fawning CBC types to ask the wanna be PM what his views are exactly on
    Trade G 20
    Military / peacekeeping
    Indian act and the runaway spending on reserves
    Carbon Tax
    public service unions
    That is ten for a start for the Liberal’s little snowboarder.

  19. fh says:

    O/T have we come to a point of such fear FEAR that we cannot support the young women who are raped and then discarded like so much garbage ?
    are we so afraid to stand up and demand more from our young men MEN ?
    Rehtaeh Parsons was a young Canadian woman. She deserved our support.
    She deserved to see justice done on her behalf.
    Let us all vow to stand up for all young women who are subjected to rape by young men.
    It is not alright to rape young women and then refer to the woman as a slut.The young men MEN are the sluts.

  20. Martin says:

    I saw portions of Solomon’s interview with Ont Health Minister Matthews, alluded to by
    jon above, and Richco also mentioned a resignation is in order, (Richco, I only monitor Solomon occasionally to keep him honest)
    It was a typically mealy mouthed performance, hard to believe critically sick people would have to put up with diluted drugs. This along with report from McKitrick on green energy, should be headline news in all media, and the final blow to the McWynnty Government. Instead media remain fixated on Trudeau Jr, or the latest federal faux scandal.
    I have it on good authority that the fix is in for Horwath to prop up the Liberal budget and keep Wynne in power.

    • Richco says:

      If you go back to the days when Ernie Eves was premier Martin, when he was faced with SARS and that big mid-summer blackout that affected so many in Ontario, remember the venom coming from the then opposition front bench that included Wynne? I can’t list them here but the Liberals and the liberal media were relentless in the condemnation of the Eve’s government and the PCs.

      By all accounts the ever-growing McWynnety laundry list of scandals and boondoggles under the Liberal government watch FAR exceeds anything that occurred under the Harris/Eve’s government.

      Typically the left-leaning media types are giving the waste of taxpayer dollars a pass.

      Wynne thinks that by changing the language she’ll fool the electorate in to giving her the nod next election.

      Shame on Horwath for propping this government up.

      Good on Hudak and especially Lisa MacLeod who is amazing in scrums and doing a lion’s share of media. Keep it up. Ontarians are going to have to be kept at a constant boiling point from now on.

      I want an election!

      • Liz J says:

        Yeah we need an election now but Horwath is allowing this scandal ridden Liberal government to rock on and keep this province on the rocks. Horwath cannot have it both ways, being against the scandals and keeping them in power to exacerbate the mess. There’s no excuse for propping up a bad government, she’s losing her own credibility making deals with McWynnty to save her own political bacon.

        • Martin says:

          More ammunition for a needed election call will come Mon, when the AG is due to report on the cost of canceling the Mississauga gas plant. The Oakville report is not due until summer. Whatever he comes up with, it is certain to be far beyond the $230 m Liberals have been claiming and the media have been parroting all spring. A pity both estimates won’t be available together, but this is the main one, canceled during the campaign.
          Hard for Horwath to ignore this report, but I’m sure she is up to it.

  21. fh says:

    CBC must release the information requested

  22. ed says:

    I see Trudeau as “the puppet on a string.” He doesn’t have to worry about policy. The Liberal hierarchy will tell him what to do and say from day to day. The old boys will see to that. It’s that same old gang of Liberals. The only change they’ve made is to put Trudeau out there as their poster boy. It’s all about winning, not about good government. Trudeau is just the latest “tool” they use hoping to re-gain power. What a shallow Party!!

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