Kathleen Wynne admits Ontario Liberal ministers have fundraising quotas but won't admit quotas are up to $500,000/year each

22 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kathleen Wynne admits Ontario Liberal ministers have fundraising quotas but won't admit quotas are up to $500,000/year each

Wynne has a growing fundraising scandal on her hands. 


Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted Friday that Ontario cabinet ministers do have fundraising quotas after ducking the question for most of the week.

The Liberals are accused of selling access to cabinet ministers at high-priced dinners and cocktail receptions for lobbyists, and Wynne promises to introduce new rules on political donations by the fall, but not to implement them before the next election in 2018.

She had refused to confirm that cabinet ministers have individual fundraising targets of up to $500,000, but was pressed on the issue again Friday. ...

“We’re a team, and those conversations (are) between the ministers and the fundraising (managers), we don’t necessarily have a joint conversation about what everyone’s target is,” Wynne said at an Ottawa news conference. “We know that there’s an overall objective in terms of what we need to run the party, and we all do our bit.”

However, Wynne wouldn’t say what that overall fundraising objective is for the Liberals. ...

The federal contribution rules are simple: people can contribute a maximum of $1,525 to each party annually, plus another $1,525 in total to all the registered associations and candidates of each party.

In Ontario, people, companies and 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. They can also donate $6,650 to candidates of any one party in a campaign, but no more than $1,330 to a single candidate.

Ontario also has no limits on contributions to political leadership candidates. One young man made a single donation of $100,000 to former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Christine Elliott in 2014.





The title of the article says it all: "Ontario Liberals will do away with dubious fundraising practices, after they’ve finished milking them".


Ontario’s Liberal government is an old hand at explaining away shady fundraising practices.

When it was revealed  in October that Ontario’s teachers unions received millions of dollars from the government to help cover the costs of collective bargaining — the same unions that donated $800,000 to the Ontario Liberal Party and spent $6.5 million attacking its opponents in the past three election campaigns — Education Minister Liz Sandals  shrugged it off. “That actually has nothing to do with anything … it isn’t about who politically supports who,” she said.

When it was emerged in January that the privately owned Ontario Tire Stewardship, which is designated to recycle the 12 million used tires the province disposes of annually, had made donations to the Ontario Liberals, party spokesperson Patricia Favre insisted there was nothing nefarious going on. “Fundraising happens across all parties and is just one of the ways people can be a part of the democratic process,” she said. ...

Premier Kathleen Wynne used a similar pretext when questioned about her party’s recent $6,000-per-plate fundraiser, which offered “one-on-one” access to herself and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli. “We have to be able to raise money in order to run campaigns, in order to get our message out into communities,” she said. Her spokeswoman added that, “Donations and fundraisers are a part of the democratic process that all parties engage in.”

It’s true that the NDP and the Progressive Conservatives run their own versions of pay-for-access events. The New Democrats, for example, recently hosted a dinner in Toronto featuring Alberta Premier Rachel Notley at $10,000 per ticket. The Ontario PCs have offered meet-and-greets with leader Patrick Brown at Queen’s Park for donors who contribute $5,000. And all three parties have been on the receiving end of donations from the foreign owners of The Beer Store, which continues to enjoy a lucrative quasi-monopoly in Ontario. Indeed, it’s no mystery why the opposition parties have been lethargic in pressing the government to change the rules.

The fact other parties engage in the same dubious practices does not make it acceptable or ethical. And only the the Liberals, with their majority government, are in a position to repay donors with favourable decisions on how much teachers are paid, or who will recycle Ontario’s tires, or how much of Hydro One the Liberals will sell off. And it’s the Liberals who have explored ever-more questionable frontiers in bartering for their favour. This week alone two new examples came to light: on Tuesday we learned that Hydro One executives paid $7,500 per plate for face time with the province’s Energy and Finance ministers; at the same time the Toronto Star confirmed what many watching Queen’s Park have long suspected, that Ontario cabinet members are assigned fundraising quotas — some as high as $500,000 per year — to keep the party flush with cash.

To suggest the government is able to make decisions divorced from whatever generous donations it receives is not credible. Maintaining that  “democracy” involves buying access to elected leaders demonstrates either a fundamental misunderstanding of the democratic process, or the belief that voters are hopelessly naïve. ...

Wynne initially defended her party against the recent revelations, before announcing plans to introduce “significant reforms” in the fall. How convenient. Notably, the “reforms” will be introduced over a “transition” period leading to the next election, and may not all be in place by the time of the next vote. Again, how convenient: the Liberals will be able to claim credit for reforming the system even while continuing to milk it for all it’s worth.

There is no reason real reforms should take so long to introduce. 







Gee, I feel under-privileged. Our have-not province's Liberals only had $100,000 quotas. No fair!

[url=http://globalnews.ca/news/1334553/former-quebec-transport-minister-insis... Quebec transport minister insists she had no knowledge of fundraising quota[/url]





Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals have been on a full-court press to raise money from wealthy donors even as they promise tough new rules on campaign finance.

Corporations and lobbyists who regularly do business with government say the party has stepped up pressure tactics in recent months – telling them they must attend fundraisers to get a hearing on their issues – and they are getting fed up with the shakedown.

The Globe and Mail has obtained documents outlining a dozen fundraisers, most of them kept secret from the public, that the Liberals have held since November. Nearly all involve intimate gatherings at which, for a price, corporations and unions wanting to influence government policy can meet cabinet ministers and MPPs over cocktails. ...

Ms. Wynne promised last summer to reform campaign finance. Earlier this week amid revelations of intimate fundraisers with high prices – including a $6,000-a-person event in March and a $7,500-a-plate event in December promoted by the bank that led the privatization of Hydro One – she vowed to curb corporate and union donations. But she has provided few details.

The controversy erupted just as the Ontario Liberals held their largest fundraising event of the year, the Heritage Dinner in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Wednesday. Donors paid $16,000 for a regular table or $18,000 to attend a more intimate reception with Ms. Wynne beforehand. The event raised $2.5-million from more than 1,500 people.

Before the fundraiser, many of the lobbyists and corporate decision makers targeted by the Liberals for donations expressed weariness. ...

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has said he favours bringing Ontario’s campaign finance laws in line with those of the federal government. In the meantime, he is engaging in similar fundraising practices as the Liberals. An event on April 12 at Toronto’s Albany Club will feature former Quebec premier Jean Charest, Mr. Brown’s political mentor, for $500 a person. On May 18, he will hold his Toronto Leader’s Dinner, the Tory equivalent of the Heritage Dinner. Tickets cost $15,000 a table, or $25,000 a table for a special reception with Mr. Brown beforehand. For $30,000, a company can be listed as a sponsor of the evening.


NDP Leader Andrea Horwath this week called for the government to curb “the influence of big money on our electoral system,” but said new rules must be developed with public consultation, not crafted behind closed doors by the Liberals.





Wynne has had plenty of notice of the growing problem, including this article from January but has refused to acknowledge it until after this week of heavy criticism. 


You won’t get rich as a minister of the Crown. But you’ll be reeling in big money — tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars — for Ontario’s Liberal Party, trying to meet your assigned fundraising target.

That’s the price of admission to Kathleen Wynne’s inner circle — a place where money talks, and is a key part of your unofficial job description. Moonlighting ministers who fail to meet their annual targets risk the wrath of a party and a premier who keep defending our indefensible fundraising laws.

Just ask Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid, who was in a panic last month after coming up short on his quasi-quota. Under pressure to cough up the requisite stash of cash, Duguid also relied on his political staff to hit up potential donors in time for his deadline.

It’s a lesson for all Liberals in high profile portfolios — economic development, health, energy, finance, transportation — that if you don’t troll for funds, you’ll lose favour with the premier.

Liberal ministers who spend their time targeting corporations and unions are the dirty little secret of Queen’s Park. Ontario remains the Wild West of Canadian fundraising, now that Alberta has cleaned up its own election financing embarrassments.

Shortly after winning power last spring, NDP Premier Rachel Notley banned all such donations with the “Act to Renew Democracy in Alberta.” She was following the lead of two former federal prime ministers — Jean Chrétien, who first imposed limits on corporate and union contributions, and then Stephen Harper, who eliminated them entirely.

Ontario, however, is still living — and fundraising — in the past. Wynne makes no apologies for perpetuating the practice, describing corporate donations — unlawful elsewhere — as an important right for these entities in the democratic process.

Trolling for company money may be good for the party’s treasury, but it’s bad for the province’s governance. Corporations don’t donate for altruistic reasons, but to access power and advance their own agendas.

Their contributions distort the political process and divert politicians from the public interest. Too much ministerial time is spent hosting intimate dinners at exorbitant prices with so-called stakeholders who have a stake in cabinet decisions.

Consider the conflicting mandates of Health Minister Eric Hoskins. By day, he is the public steward of a $52-billion budget for hospitals, doctors, and long-term care; by night, he is a sterling fundraiser who hobnobs with well-to-do donors seeking a quiet word with him about their pet projects. ...

The year before, as economic development minister, Hoskins was the “special guest” at a $1,000-per-ticket fundraiser hosted by then-environment minister Jim Bradley, at a facility owned by Labatt Breweries. ...

That’s small beer compared to the $100,000 private dinner hosted by Bruce Power in 2013 for Wynne and Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, attended by major union and corporate players, where they could talk up plans — announced with Chiarelli last month — to refurbish Bruce’s nuclear reactors in a multi-billion-dollar deal.







Kathleen responded in exactly the same way.

The Liberal Party of Ontario did not immediately respond to queries about its fundraising goal each year.

"The Liberal Party of Ontario did not immediately respond to queries about its fundraising goal each year."

Antonella Artuso/Toront





jerrym wrote:

Kathleen responded in exactly the same way.

The Liberal Party of Ontario did not immediately respond to queries about its fundraising goal each year.


LOL!! Great comeback, thanks jerrym.




the Liberals are saying "come buy us, we're all for patronage and sale"!!



In fact, Laura Miller now sees polticial donations as so helpful that she is crowdfunding her expensive defence against the three criminal charges of breach of trust, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system to commit mischief. After all, top defence lawyer Clayton Ruby does'nt come cheap. Since the Ontario Liberals have very generous maximum political donation levels and the BC Liberals have no limits at all on politcal donations, it is hardly surprising that Miller would see nothing problematic in defending yourself with the money of political allies, who you may be able to return the favour to one hundredfold in the future. 


A number of heavy-hitting B.C. Liberals are throwing their money behind the party’s former executive director Laura Miller, who is attempting to crowdsource $100,000 to cover legal fees as she faces criminal charges for allegedly destroying thousands of government emails in Ontario.

Miller, 36, resigned from her B.C. position in December after the Ontario Provincial Police charged her with breach of trust and mischief in connection to the deletion of documents regarding the Ontario Liberals’ decision to cancel two gas plant contracts in 2011, a move that could cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.

At the time, Miller was then Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s deputy chief of staff. McGuinty’s chief of staff David Livingston is also facing charges, with both denying any wrongdoing.

Miller, who hired high-profile Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby to defend her, has already raised more than $29,000 from 38 donors through the fundrazr.com campaignlaunched just before Christmas.

It was supposed to be a private campaign, Miller told The Canadian Press in an email, but the link made its way to the media.

“I am deeply grateful for the kind notes of encouragement, the generous contributions in support, and everything in-between,” Miller wrote.




The good news for the BC Liberal allies that are generously crowdfunding Laura Miller's defence against criminal charges of breach of trust and mischief in destroying emails and documents involving the Ontario Liberals billion dollar gas plant scandal, is that the BC Liberals see nothing wrong with Miller's actions on this scandal and wanted her back so badly. Why? To help maintain and possibly increase BC Liberals $100,000 a week poiitical donations. So they hired her back in March after laying her off in December, following the charges that were laid by the Ontario Provincial Police, even though no trial has occurred yet.

I guess that's what happens when you are "invaluable". I'm sure that those BC Liberals who so generously donated to crowdfunding of her defence against the criminal charges are rejoicing at the thought that Miller and Christy Clark may well be able to return the generosity one hundredfold in order to show their gratitude. 


As deputy premier Rich Coleman tells it, the B.C. Liberals decided to risk a backlash over rehiring Laura Miller, their under-a-cloud executive director, because they couldn’t do without her.

“We really wanted her to be able to come back because she is actually very good at what she does,” the veteran cabinet minister and co-chair of the 2013 election campaign told reporters Thursday. “From my experience, I would say she is one of the best organizers in the country.”

What does she bring? “Organization. Understanding of how to run a campaign, how to run an office. Personnel-wise, I don’t think the morale at our party has ever been better for the people that worked with her. The party is better organized and better financed than it has been in decades.”

Miller joined the B.C. Liberals from their Ontario counterparts as an organizer before the 2013 election. After the big B.C. win she was recruited for the post of executive director, where she presided over retirement of the campaign debt and then began organizing for the 2017 election.

She stepped down last December after she was charged with breach of trust and mischief in connection with the alleged destruction of emails in the office of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty before she came to B.C.

Miller’s resignation prompted the party leader and premier, Christy Clark, to put out a statement trumpeting the departing executive director as “a person of integrity” who had “stepped down to focus on clearing her name.”

Three months later, Miller has yet to clear her name and the charges remain active in Ontario. But this week came word from B.C. Liberal headquarters that the party’s executive board had unanimously voted to “welcome Laura back to the team … reflecting the full confidence we have in her.” ...

It would appear that Liberals may have been scheming to restore Miller to the executive director post all along.

“Laura stepped aside to take the time to return to Ontario to organize her defence,” Coleman told reporters. “There was always the notion that once that was organized that there was a possibility that we would take her back. ”

He also discounted the charges, suggesting they were scarcely relevant to British Columbians.

“It is something that happened in another jurisdiction,” said Coleman. “This is a pretty old case as you know, it is winding its way through their judicial system which is really not our issue. Our issue was, is she qualified to do the job?”




rGraham Harrop's Editorial Cartoon for April 2, 2016  Graham Harrop's Editorial Cartoon for April 2, 2016.Photograph by: Graham Harrop, Vancouver Sun



The first trial date in the criminal case against Laura Miller for breach of trust for destroying government emails and documents occurred on January 27th. 



Two top political aides to Ontario's ex-premier Dalton McGuinty have been vowing to fight the criminal charges against them. That fight began officially today.

David Livingston was McGuinty's chief of staff and Laura Miller his deputy. They are charged with breach of trust and mischief for allegedlydestroying government documents about the cancellation of two gas-fired power plants. ...

Neither was in the courtroom at Toronto's Old City Hall, but their lawyers were. The defence said the Crown has disclosed a lot of evidence and asked for more time to review it. 

"It is a large amount of disclosure," federal Crown prosecutor Richard Roy told reporters outside court. "There are a lot of documents that were provided and expert testimony that needs to be analysed and there's a lot of witness testimony." 

The provincial attorney-general asked the federal Public Prosecution Service of Canada to act as the Crown in this case "because there were high level people in the government that were being investigated," said Roy. 

"There's a reasonable prospect of conviction and it's in the public interest to prosecute the matter," said Roy. 





i wonder how much of this fund raising goes on when they're supposed to be doing constituent work and getting paid by tax payers?

are tax payers funding the Liberals fund raising capabilities?


quizzical wrote:

i wonder how much of this fund raising goes on when they're supposed to be doing constituent work and getting paid by tax payers?

are tax payers funding the Liberals fund raising capabilities?


Party fundraising is hopefully not as bad as in the United States - yet - where members of Congress spend 40% to 60% of their day fundraising from donors or in meetings with donor lobbyists according to the schedule below given to new members of Congress on how to do their job. However, the Liberals appear to be working hard to catch up.  

It's time to adopt public financing across the country with party donations limited to $100 as in Quebec's law (http://www.electionsquebec.qc.ca/english/provincial/financing-and-electi...). It would be a lot cheaper than all the big giveaways of taxpayers' money to big donors.



Welcome to town, new members of Congress. Now hit the phones. ...

For new Democrats, that message was delivered on Nov. 16, barely a week after the election, at an incoming-member orientation held by the House campaign arm.

The amount of time that members of Congress in both parties spend fundraising is widely known to take up an obscene portion of a typical day — whether it’s “call time” spent on the phone with potential donors, or in person at fundraisers in Washington or back home. Seeing it spelled out in black and white, however, can be a jarring experience for a new member, as related by some who attended the November orientation.

A PowerPoint presentation to incoming freshmen by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, obtained by The Huffington Post, lays out the dreary existence awaiting these new back-benchers. 

call time2

Congressional hearings and fundraising duties often conflict, and members of Congress have little difficulty deciding between the two — occasionally even raising money from the industry covered by the hearings they skip. It is considered poor form in Congress — borderline self-indulgent — for a freshman to sit at length in congressional hearings when the time could instead be spent raising money. Even members in safe districts are expected to keep up the torrid fundraising pace, so that they can contribute to vulnerable colleagues.







The Ontario Liberals failure to see anything wrong with large poilitical donations not only reflects the attitude of the Quebec Liberals, but that of the BC Liberals. In the latter case, this is hardly surprising as Laura Miller, deputy chief of staff to Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty, moved to BC to become Christy Clark's executive director of B.C.'s Liberal Party, despite being involved in "mass-deleting emails related to the politically motivated decision to cancel two gas-fired power plants in Ontario".



Miller and party president Sharon White spearheaded an ambitious social media campaign, membership drive, women's network and fundraising initiative after the 2013 election, which has seen the Liberals outpace their New Democratic rivals.

The Liberals paid off their $3 million election debt within two years and, according to the NDP (which is still in debt), the Liberals are now raising $100,000 a week for the 2017 election war chest.

She became an "invaluable" party leader, said Mike McDonald, the party's 2013 campaign director and a longtime friend of the premier.


Unfortunately, for Miller, the BC and Ontario Liberals, the Ontario Provincial Police didn't see her in quite ther same light. Miller now



faces three charges — breach of trust, mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system to commit mischief — in relation to the deleted emails and documents

Hardly, surprising that Miller and Clark, similar to Wynne, were asking no questions about how they could be getting $100,000 in political donations for the next election. 



Evidence that the BC Liberals wanted to bring Miller back all along comes from the fact they never took her name off the door to her office for two months after letting her go. 


However, both Miller's name and voice remained on the BC Liberal Party office's voice mail system through Feb. 22. It was only changed after a reporter asked why. Acting executive director Evan Southern, who took over from Miller on Dec. 18, 2015, called it an "oversight."


Besides her ability to raise generous donations, Miller brought another talent with her from Ontario to BC. The BC Liberals must have viewed the successful destruction of government emails in Ontario so favourably, that they decided to repeat it in BC. However, they made sure that they wouldn't make the same mistake as Ontario: no need to have a chief of staff, like Laura Miller, criminally charged when you can have a low-level flunky take the hit. 


Whistleblower Tim Duncan went public on May 28, 2015, claiming that his superior in Transport Minister Todd Stone's office, George Gretes, had grabbed a computer keyboard from him and deleted emails that should have been provided in a response to an FOI request about the Highway of Tears. 

An investigation by Denham corroborated Duncan's allegations. In her report, "Access Denied," she also found Clark's deputy chief of staff Michele Cadario, issues management director Evan Southern, and Nick Facey, chief of staff for Citizens' Services Minister Amrik Virk, had breached the FOI law. Gretes was forced to resign. Stone admitted that he triple deletes his email, making it impossible to provide information under FOI requests. ...

Denham's "Access Denied" report included allegations that Gretes had lied under oath about deleting records. Denham forwarded her findings to the RCMP. Special prosecutor Mark Jette investigated and two counts of misleading a commissioner were filed against Gretes. The charges, under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, carry a maximum $5,000 fine. Gretes's first appearance is scheduled for April 20. Neither Clark nor Stone's offices were talking. Attorney General Suzanne Anton issued a statement saying she wouldn't comment because the case is before the courts.








Finance Minister Charles Sousa has an annual tally to raise for the Liberals of around $500,000. He emphasized that donors have no sway over government policy.


Finance Minister Charles Sousa has an annual tally to raise for the Liberals of around $500,000. He emphasized that donors have no sway over government policy.

As the embattled Liberals scramble to revamp Ontario’s lax political fundraising rules, the opposition New Democratic Party has pounced on the controversy to raise money. In an email appeal, NDP provincial secretary Karla Webber-Gallagher implores supporters to pony up as the Liberals gathered Wednesday for their annual Heritage Dinner. “Let’s be honest, all political parties need to raise money . . . but when it comes to attracting huge donations from corporations and lobbyists, the Liberals are in a league of their own,” she continued. ...

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli, who acknowledged he brings in around $300,000 annually to the Liberal party, insisted there is no tension among cabinet members regardless of their specific “allotment.” “I’m not aware of any wedge. We’re very collegial. We’re on the same team and we do the best we can in all of our responsibilities,” Chiarelli said Wednesday.

“I’m not aware of any minister who hasn’t met their allotment. I don’t know to what extent they may have met or exceeded their allotment,” he said. ...

Corporations, unions and individuals can contribute exponentially more than their yearly cap by giving additional cash during byelections and by funding candidates during party leadership campaigns, among other things.



CBC's The Current discussed this issue last week. The podcast can be found at



Premier Wynne's cabinet ministers have party fundraising quotas as high as half a million dollars.  Those expectations to raise cash are now a raising concern over whether Ontario's cabinet ministers are under pressure to court corporate money.




yup Liberals getting paid to fund raise while on the tax ayer's dime.

i got NO fkn repect for anyone who votes Liberal.


In the video below, Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch discusses why the conflicts of interest inherent in large party donations are inherently extremely hard to prove as tied to specific decisions because one cannot read what is going on in another person's mind, but are access is enough to violate the ethics and conflict of interest rules.