Monday, December 16, 2013

BALL ROLLS OUT TRANPARENCY FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Provincial Liberal Leader Dwight Ball is giving the gift of transparency for Christmas.

The Opposition leader has lived-up to his commitment (and than some) to release a list of contributors to his successful 2013 leadership bid. 

In light of the public disdain for Bill 29, I thought is was very hypocritical to not lead by example and be transparent and accountable to the last nickel. The public has a right to know who is getting what and from whom. Candidates should be required to disclose their contributors and contributions prior to any eadership vote.

Ball says his team  raised $312,733 for his campaign. He has refunded $11,000  to donors who did not wish to have their names released publicly. 

He made a $223,321 personal contribution. He has identified the names of the contributors who gave his campaign over $88,000.  There does not appear to be a list of in-kind donations, but I will check that out.

The Liberal Party  missed an opportunity to show leadership on the transparency and accountability issue when they failed to include financial disclosure rules.  

Candidates were allowed to accept unlimited donations with no obligation to disclose where the source of the money.

All five candidates have promised to disclose how much they spend it total.  Only Danny Dumaresque committed to a full disclosure. He released his list today as well.

Ball had  said he won’t give the names of his donors, but he would release the individual amounts of each donation. Today he exceeded his campaign promise and has set the bar for future leadership campaigns.

Cathy Bennett established her own guidelines. She told the Telegram that her campaign would not  accept any single donation larger than $10,000, and she doesn’t want to know who’s giving her the money.

Paul Antle said he was playing by the rules as established by the party but suggested that leadership campaign financial rules  should fall  under be included in the province's Election Act, "We should have some guidelines that are legislated and not just at the whim of the political party. It creates equity and balance and access to the process for all people that are interested in running.”

In a press release, Ball says he has requested that the Liberal Party bring forth changes to make disclosure mandatory in all future leadership races. 

Premier Cathy Dunderdale has said as recently as last month that she would consider changes to the Election Act to make  disclosure rules for financing  party leadership races mandatory.

The tories have have a leadership campaign cap of $200,000 per candidate. 

It will be interesting to see if she ponies up to ensure these changes are in place for the PC leadership anticipated for the Fall of 2013.

The secret unlimited donations of money, services and property should be relegated to the trash bin of pork barrel politics.




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