Ottawa Hearings Reveal Liberals’ Election Financing Loopholes Remain

OTTAWA – Today Ontario PC Attorney General Critic Randy Hillier (MPP, Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington) and Ontario PC Deputy Leader Steve Clark (MPP, Leeds-Grenville) continued to call on the Liberal Government to strengthen the loopholes in Bill 201, Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act, 2016.


The Standing Committee on General Government is holding public hearings throughout the province, where citizens have the opportunity to comment on or provide evidence relating to election financing reform. 

“We heard the same concerns here today in Ottawa that we have heard from residents in Kingston and from across Ontario,” said Hillier. “There are serious issues that the Liberals’ bill to clean up Ontario’s political finance reform doesn’t go nearly far enough, and continues to allow and encourage significant loopholes.” 

One of the loopholes this legislation does nothing to address is the perception that stakeholders are forced to trade cash-for-access to the Liberal Government.  The need to put an end to cash-for-access was supported at the public hearings by Ontario Public Service Employees Union Vice President Gareth Jones and former Ottawa West MPP Alex Cullen.  

“We will continue to hear of secret fundraising targets that give the impression that Liberal Ministers are being instructed to cash in on their public office in order to fundraise,” Clark stated. “The Ontario Government should not be for sale to the largest Liberal donors.”  

One example of this is Ottawa MPP and former Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli.  Minister Chiarelli’s fundraising target was as high as $300,000 annually, which he met by hosting intimate $6,000-a-head cocktail receptions and three-course dinners with the Minister and Premier Wynne, or the $165,000 fundraiser with one of the banks involved in the fire sale of Hydro One weeks after the initial public offering for the company.  

 “This behaviour is so offensive to Ontario families and businesses who work hard to pay their taxes and play by the rules,” added Clark.  “People shouldn’t have to ask whether or not there was a conflict of interest – let’s make it clear right from the beginning.”

Another issue that continues to go unaddressed is government advertising during the campaign period.  The Ontario PC Caucus believes that the Ontario Liberal Party should not be using taxpayer money on self-congratulatory ads in the months prior to the election. Ottawa and District Labour Council President Sean McKenney echoed concerns of the Ontario PC Caucus, declaring that not everyone sees these ads as the campaign tactic they really are. 

“The Ontario PC Caucus remains committed to developing political financing laws that create a level playing field and are in the best interests of Ontarians, not the Wynne Liberals own political survival,” added Hillier.