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Key Vote: Election Finance Reform

In September 2004, City Council voted to approve a broad set of changes that would reform the way elections are run and financed in Toronto. VoteToronto strongly supported this issue, as it would increase the fairness of municipal elections by levelling the playing field between incumbents and new candidates running for city council, lessening the influence that corporations and unions (particularly those who do business with the city) have upon elections.

The 35-8 final vote on the reform package does not fully represent the lengthy debate and division amongst councillors on this issue, which crossed the ideological divides on City Council. Some of the most vocal opponents of election finance reform, including Howard Moscoe, Kyle Rae and Sandra Bussin, supported the final vote after creating amendments that would water down the reforms. Moscoe made a motion to keep corporate and union donations, which was unsuccessful, while Bussin made a successful motion to double campaign spending limits (to an average of about $62,000 per candidate), which gives a greater advantage to incumbents and candidates with greater fundraising power.

As a result of the successful vote, the election finance reforms are now in the hands of the provincial government. Through this vote, the city has requested the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to make changes to the Municipal Elections Act, the legislation that governs elections for Ontario cities.

For more information, please see the VoteToronto Election Finance Reform page.

Vote Essentials:
That council request the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to change the Municipal Elections Act to, amongst other things, ban corporate and union campaign contributions, prevent candidates from carrying campaign surpluses forward to future elections, limiting the amount of spending on fundraising, and requiring more transparent filing of campaign donors.

Voting FOR election finance reform: 35
Altobello, Ashton, Bussin, Carroll, Cho, Chow, Cowbourne, Davis, De Baeremaeker, Del Grade, Di Giorgio, Filion, Fletcher, Giambrone, Hall, Holyday, Jenkins, Li Preti, Lindsay Luby, McConnell, Mihevc, Milczyn, Miller, Moscoe, Nunziata, Palacio, Pantalone, Pitfield, Rae, Saundercook, Soknacki, Stintz, Thompson, Walker, Watson.

Voting AGAINST election finance reform: 8
Augimeri, Feldman, Grimes, Kelly, Mammoliti, Minnan-Wong, Ootes, Shiner.

Vote Date: September 30, 2004

Vote Specifics: Clause as amended, Policy and Finance Committee Report 7, Clause 3, headed “Toronto Election Finance Review Task Force Recommendations”.

For more information, see the City Council Minutes, pages 24 to 40. (PDF file opens in a new window.)