Twelve Days of Scandals, Day Two: Corrupt Money In, Corrupt Money Out

At The Post Millennial, we have decided to use these last 12 days before the election to give an overview of the Wynne government's 5 years in power.

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From the Ontario Liberal Party website, on the page for a Thursday "special evening" at a private residence.
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At The Post Millennial, we have decided to use these last 12 days before the election to give an overview of the Wynne government’s 5 years in power.

Day Two

In politics, like in any other industry, to figure out what people’s motivations are, it is important to “follow the money”. A lot of money goes into and comes out from the Liberal Party every year. Looking at how reveals a lot about the party’s inner workings.

Corrupt Money In: Cash-For-Access Fundraising

Ontario Premier Wynne has been even worse than Prime Minister Trudeau when it comes to cash-for-access fundraising events, especially in light of financing laws that were improved under Stephen Harper. That means that legalized bribery is easier in Ontario than at the federal level.

The Globe & Mail called Wynne’s cash-for-access events “nakedly corrupt“. Despite this, the Liberals have refused to accept demands from the PCs and the NDP calling for regulations to prevent ruling parties from selling access.

Cabinet ministers gouge lobbyists for all that they can, in order to meet party fundraising quotas. Who knows what kinds of promises these cabinet ministers use to entice lobbyists into buying more and more expensive access?

Some legislation was finally passed, as the Wynne government struggled to respond to reports of a sketchy Liberal fundraiser that raised about $3 million on a single Wednesday night. However, the PCs have accused the Liberals of breaking the new rules.

All of this has not been enough to prevent the Liberals from going broke, as they continue to fall behind other parties on fundraising. It is almost as though they need to cheat just to be able to compete.

Corrupt Money Out: Sudbury Bribery Scandal

It has always been common knowledge that parties have a ton of places where they need to spend money. They need to maintain offices, teams of staff, and their media presence. Under Premier Wynne, we learned that at least part of the money might be going towards bribery, to make sure the ‘right’ people win the right nominations.

The various parties’ nomination processes, ordinarily staying out of the public view, have become the subject of much controversy this past year. Last September, two high-level Liberal staff went on trial to face bribery charges under the Election Act.

The controversy surrounded the 2015 Sudbury by-election, in which federal NDP’s Sudbury MP Glenn Thibeault resigned to run for the Ontario Liberals. The Sudbury by-election made headlines when it was alleged that the Ontario Liberals had bribed a potential nomination opponent to Glenn Thibeault not to run.

The two accused were also alleged to have bribed Glenn Thibeault himself to defect along with two loyal staffers. Thibeault is now the Energy Minister. 

The judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to find a conviction, after a trial that saw Premier Wynne herself take the stand.

In taped conversations, the two accused imply to former Liberal candidate Andrew Olivier that he might be rewarded for stepping down for Thibeault with a job. Unfortunately for the prosecution, Andrew Olivier did not qualify as a candidate under the Election Act.

Thibeault himself admitted that the law is too vague and that he did not understand the judge’s ruling. He simply said that “at the end of the day for me, the ruling by the judge, that was the right thing”.

Ontario Needs Higher Standard For Lawmakers

While neither the corrupt money in nor the corrupt money out may be against the law, it is important to hold our lawmakers to a higher standard than the laws that they themselves have created.

Incompetent Past, Incompetent Future

While your riding’s Liberal candidate represents Kathleen Wynne’s unforgivable past, some of the other candidates might not be so promising either.

Check out our Ontario Election 2018 Hub for more election coverage!


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Mika Ryu

Law student at Western University, and UofT graduate in economics and linguistics. Remember that your version of the world is always too simple.

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