Thursday, January 11, 2007

Maybe it's the 50-plus broken promises

Fiberals’ feeble fundraising fault of Chrétien – or is it?

From today’s Globe and Mail story about the McGuinty Fiberals hiring John “Beaker” Manley to fill their war chest for a general election barely nine months away:

The Liberals feel the change in corporate donation habits has hurt them more than their Progressive Conservative rivals, who have continued to maintain a well-oiled fundraising machine, according to sources.

But fundraising has become more difficult since the federal Accountability Act came into effect in December. The law bars corporations and unions from donating to parties and caps the amount an individual can give at $1,000 a year.

Even though Ontario operates under a separate system that permits donations from corporations and unions, many companies have opted to comply with the federal rules, Mr. Sorbara said.

But the McGuinty Liberals’ spin that the Stephen Harper government’s Accountability Act is to blame for their sorry fundraising is, er, bulls***, on two counts.

First, what Sorbara and (shame) Globe reporter Karen Howlett fail to mention is that it was the federal Liberals who banned corporations from donating to parties, though they were still permitted to donate to candidates and riding associations. (The Harper government went all the way and banned corporate donations to candidates and ridings.) If, as Greg Sorbara posits, companies chose to stop donating to provincial parties because of the federal rule change, then it’s Jean Chrétien who is to blame, not Harper.

Second, the Fiberals’ fundraising numbers suggest that even this rationale is questionable. The federal ban on corporate and union donations to parties took effect January 1, 2004. So why did Ontario Liberal donations decline – by 30 per cent – in 2005? Here’s what the Ontario Liberals raised in the last three years, as reported to Elections Ontario:

2003: $2,454,688.83
2003 election: $4,351,190.82
2004: $3,859,053.86
2005: $2,645,769.04

So it’s not Harper. It’s not Chrétien. Maybe it’s Premier Pinocchio’s promise-breaking, and letting Ontario's economy go down the toilet.

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