Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Liberals Host Major Fundraiser, Raise about $2.5 Million

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario Liberals Host Major Fundraiser, Raise about $2.5 Million

Article excerpt

Ontario Liberals host major fundraiser

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TORONTO - Ontario Liberals raised about $2.5 million at a big fundraising dinner Wednesday night that could be part of a waning tradition as the premier considers banning corporate and union donations.

The $1,600-a-plate Heritage Dinner -- donors could pony up an extra $2,000 to pay $18,000 for a 10-seat "victory table" and an extra $1,000 to get into a 30-minute "pre-reception" -- is a huge annual event for the party and last year raised $2.75 million.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said this week, following reports that her ministers have six-figure fundraising targets, some as high as $500,000 a year, that she plans to tighten rules on political donations this fall.

Following a speech to the more than 1,500 attendees at the Liberal Heritage Dinner, Wynne said she couldn't provide any details of that plan because it isn't yet complete, but she is looking to the federal model, which bans corporate and union donations.

"If we look at the federal system, what it means is that donation levels go way down and there are certain kinds of donations that aren't allowed," Wynne said.

"I don't know whether it will be exactly what the federal rules are, but we will move in that direction."

Wynne promised "movement" on that and changes to third-party election advertising -- Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada, of those that regulate third-party advertising, that does not impose limits -- before the 2018 election, but it's likely not all the changes will pass in time.

Federally, the maximum political contribution is $1,525 to each party, plus another $1,525 in total to all the registered associations and candidates of each party.

In Ontario, people, corporations or unions can donate $9,775 to a party each year, another $9,975 to the party for each campaign period, plus $6,650 annually to constituency associations of any one party, but no more than $1,330 annually to a single constituency association. …

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