Should unions be allowed to run partisan ads during an election campaign? We have laws governing the amount of money each political party can receive in donations from a single source, and how much it can spend on a campaign. This effectively limits a party’s advertising campaign unless, of course, a friendly union or related third-party spends millions on TV ads that support its platform.
How democratic is that?
Why should any group other than political parties be allowed to run partisan ads? Individuals vote, not groups. Individuals are allowed to join political parties and campaign for their representatives. And on election day they can vote for the candidate of their choice. So, why do we need third-party groups interfering with this process?
The setting up of a group like the unions have done with “Working Families” is clearly a way of circumventing our election financing laws and is a worrying trend in Ontario politics. We have political parties to represent individuals—that’s their purpose. If a group of individuals don’t like a party’s record or platform, join one of the opposing parties or form a new one, which will have to be registered and play by the rules established to protect the process.
Union members are free to have their own political party—they used to have the NDP—and to participate fully in every aspect of an election. For them to also form “front” organizations so they can multiply the effect of their political spending is to thumb their collective noses at election financing laws.
Moreover, unions which have voting membership in the NDP should have every cent of their election spending charged to that party for purposes of the election financing laws.
A cruel joke to come out of this sham is the participation of private sector unions. The dupes are giving their hard-earned money for ads that support a party that has been shafting them along with the rest of us. Go figure.
Dalton McGuinty is benefitting from the loose alliance he’s formed with the teachers’ and other public service unions. His government keeps their members employed in cushy public sector jobs with fat benefit plans and regular pay increases at overly generous rates; they return the favour by running campaigns favouring his party during general elections.
Quite the fiddle, isn’t it.