Vote on Election Finance Reform in Toronto
At the September 2004 session, Toronto City Council voted 35-8 to approve several motions to significantly reform election finance rules governing Toronto municipal elections. These motions emerge from the Toronto Election Finance Review Task Force, a group formed by City Council to review the way elections are run in the city. The task force has been working for over a year, reviewing election finances in Toronto and other jurisdictions. VoteToronto participated in public consultation sessions hosted by the task force.
Link here to see the voting records on the election finance reforms.
Proposed Election Finance Reforms
The motions propose to:
- Prohibit corporate and union donations. This move has already been instituted by the federal government, Manitoba and Quebec (where it has been in place since 1977), and will reduce the power that lobbyists, developers and large corporate donors currently have over city councillors.
- Limit the spending on fundraising, such as lavish fundraising and thank-you parties, and close spending loopholes in the current system.
- Prevent candidates from carrying huge campaign surpluses over to future elections. This will help to level the playing field between incumbent councillors and new candidates in elections.
- Establish more detailed reporting, electronic filing and external enforcement of Toronto election finances.
Why support election finance reforms
The proposed reforms are all very important changes to make the electoral system more fair and accountable to the citizens of Toronto. The reforms propose to significantly reform the way that elections are run in the City of Toronto, by reducing the power that lobbyists, developers and other companies have over councillors, and helping to level the playing field between incumbents and new candidates in elections.
Read VoteToronto's Q&A; pages on the reforms, organized by topic:
Q&A; on Corporate and Union Donations
Q&A; on Campaign Surpluses
Q&A; on Limiting Fundraising Expenses
For more information
For more information about the proposed election finance reforms,
see the following documents: (All links open in a new window.)
City Council Documents
Staff Report on the Toronto Election Finance Review Task Force Recommendations, published in September 2004
Election Finance Review Task Force final report, published in April 2004
The Election Finance Review Task Force discussion paper,
published in March 2004
Report on the
Election Finance Task Force, prepared by Robert MacDermid,
Associate Professor of Political Science at York University
The Need for Reform: An Analysis of 2000 and 2003 Campaign Contributions, presentation given to Toronto City Councillors
Press Coverage of Election Finance Reforms
Proposed election reforms go too far, Toronto Star, 29 September 2004
Remember those who back reform, Toronto Star, 28 September 2004
'War chests' under attack at City Hall, Toronto Star, 27 September 2004
Keeping money out of City Hall, Toronto Star, 14 September 2004
Following the big bucks, Now Magazine, 29 July 2004
Editorial: Self-serving delays on election reform, Toronto Star, 26 July 2004
Election reforms ducked, Toronto Star, 22 July 2004
Council puts off decision on election finance reform, Globe and Mail, 22 July 2004
Corporate donors get city reprieve, Toronto Sun, 22 July 2004
City may axe corporate, union donations, Etobicoke Guardian, 21 July 2004
Toronto Star editorial on election finance reform, published on July 19, 2004
Toronto Star op-ed on election finance reform by Councillor Michael Walker, published on July 16, 2004.
Toronto Star editorial on election finance reforms, published on July 10, 2004.
Toronto Star article on the Election Finance
Review Task Force's work, published on July 2, 2004.
Globe and Mail article on election finance reforms, published on July 12, 2004.
Globe and Mail article on election finance advantages for incumbents, published in September 2003.
Now Magazine article on violations of election finance laws, published in May 2002.