Monday, January 12, 2009

Developers own the 905: No wonder they voted Conservative

Remember 100 years ago (November 26) when the Tories issued their 'Economic Update' and proposed cutting federal funding to political parties? Remember how everyone in their right mind thew a fit? Here's why - from the Toronto Star:
"Robert MacDermid, an associate professor of political science at York University who is publishing a paper on the subject today, says the sheer amount of cash flowing from developers to incumbents – as opposed to coming from citizens who believe in a candidate's platform – erodes the concept of democratic representation.
In the 905 in 2006, election winners got 54.3 per cent of their funding from developers, losers 35 per cent. In Toronto, the numbers are 12 per cent and 4 per cent.
Since there are no rules restricting the number of candidates to whom corporations can donate, they often do so multiple times. MacDermid contends all that money, combined with shortcomings in the Ontario Municipal Elections Act, puts new candidates at a disadvantage, especially those who oppose developers' interests. "It reduces the choice that citizens actually have," he says. "The difficulty with (a candidate) opposing development is that it's hard to find enough money."
Now conservatives, no doubt, will say that that's how things should be. That candidates should raise their own campaign funds from private sources. The thing is federal funding IS raised from private sources. We all pay taxes. Even people who don't have an income pay GST and PST. So when people vote the party that they vote for gets $1.95 per year from their taxes. People who are upset about that obviously aren't thinking clearly. By voting for a party you are trusting them with all of your tax dollars, chances are you can trust them with $1.95 and if that was all the money they got, if there were no private donations we wouldn't get beaten over the head with misleading campaign ads every time someone smells an election. Hopefully residents of the 905 will come to their senses and buy their local government back from the developers.

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