Archive for April 29th, 2012

Election financing laws: Re-thinking restrictions on third-party spending

- April 29th, 2012

I am a great fan of Canada’s political finance laws and the reforms enacted by both the governments of Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper. Among other things, our political finance laws prohibit significant third-party spending during election campaigns. I’ve thought that this limit on freedom of expression was appropriate in that its aim was to provide fair access to the public common during a writ period. Mostly, I look to the U.S. and see the distortions in their political system because of Big Money. Obama will likely spend $1 billion on his re-election campaign this year. $1 billion! I would be surprised if the total spending in Canada’s federal election last year for every local candidate and the national campaigns in 2011 hit $100 million.

But now, after reading an interesting essay from  Pauline Beange, a University of Toronto scholar, I’m ready to re-examine some of my assumptions about the restrictions we have on political financing.  Read more…