Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker says it was disheartening to see the Liberal government vote down his proposal for capping election spending by third-parties.

Walker's bill, which was debated today at Queen's Park, proposed a spending cap of $150,000 for each third-party group's partisan ads in an election. He says the cap, which is also being advocated by the province's elections watchdog, Greg Essensa, would remove the ability of special-interest groups to influence elections. It would also put Ontario's election laws in line with the rest of Canada. 

"The principle of fairness is paramount and fundamental to engaging everyone in our democratic process," Walker says. "Today, I challenged the legislature toembrace that principle by ensuring our laws guarantee free, fair and transparent elections. Sadly, only members from the Liberal party chose not to give such guarantee but to stick to the status quo."

Esensa's last two reports identified spending caps as one of his top priorities. "By 2014 spending by third parties had increased by over 400 per cent for a total of $8.4 million. This lack of regulation is creating an uneven playing field that can potentially influence electoral outcomes", he has been quoted as saying.

Walker says some of the 30 Liberal members may be called on to justify their nay vote as they return to their constituencies for Thanksgiving.

"My bill was about putting the interests of the people we serve ahead of our own. It's about showing respect for the institution of government and democracy. And most importantly, it's about ensuring Ontario can have more fair, transparent elections and where free speech stays free.

source:media release, Bill Walker MPP



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