Activists say developers have too much influence in Ontario municipal elections
(Pawel Dwulit / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, October 14, 2014 4:32PM EDT
TORONTO - Some political activists say Ontario should only allow individuals to donate to municipal politicians in order to reduce what they claim is an unfair influence by developers in local elections.
Campaign Fairness says developers have too much influence in municipal elections because they provide the majority of funding for many candidates, especially in communities within commuting distance of Toronto.
Campaign founder Robert Eisenberg says developers are aided by local politicians who view Simcoe, Durham and York counties "as one vast redevelopment site."
Oakville town councillor Allan Elgar says he was shocked at the level of developer funding for candidates and council when he first ran in 2000, and he wants the rules changed to level the playing field for all candidates.
The Ontario Home Builders Association says its member are playing by the rules, and if municipal councils don't want their money they can follow Toronto's lead and ban contributions from unions and corporations.
Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin says none of the four dozen councils he's met with so far has raised the issue of changing the funding rules to stop developers from having too much influence in municipal elections.