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Grit fundraisers spur calls for disclosure

London Free Press - August 28, 2004
by Alan Findlay


Ontario's governing Liberals are rejecting calls to immediately cough up lists of people paying as much as $5,000 to golf with the premier and cabinet ministers. The government is instead vowing to propose election finance reforms this fall. Premier Dalton McGuinty will hold the latest of several fundraising golf tournaments outside Ottawa on Monday, raising concerns from critics about who is buying access to McGuinty and other cabinet ministers.

"I don't think they want us to know who's influencing their decision-making at this point," said New Democrat MPP Marilyn Churley, calling on the Grits to make good on an election promise and provide "real-time" disclosure on donations rather than several months after the fact.

Monday's fundraiser charges as much as $5,000 for golf with McGuinty.

Last week, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan's Windsor-St. Clair riding association held a golf fundraiser two days before the government accepted bids on new electricity generation contracts. Among those donating to Duncan's re-election efforts were energy companies.

Duncan wasn't available for comment yesterday, but said this week his office has no influence over the bidding competition, which is overseen by a consulting company.

Ontario Liberal Fund president Brent Johnston said the fund will only disclose its donor information to Elections Ontario at the end of the year. "We do have to follow the legislation and the legislation says we file yearly," said Johnston, adding more regular disclosure would require an overhaul of the party's reporting systems.


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