21% of councillor campaign donations came from outside Toronto
Coun. Jaye Robinson questions whether out-of-city donors should get a rebate
A CBC News investigation has found that more than 20 per cent of campaign contributions to Toronto councillors came from people who don't live in the city.
The findings are based on new data from the 2014 municipal election and reviewed by CBC News.
Scarborough-Agincourt Coun. Jim Karygiannis had the most outside contributions, with more than 70 per cent of his donors and most of the $79,400 he raised coming from other cities, like Brampton and Mississauga.
Nearly half of the individuals who gave to Councillors Giorgio Mammoliti and Raymond Cho's campaigns also live outside of Toronto.
Jaye Robinson and Gord Perks were the only councillors who received no money from outside the city boundaries.
In an interview, Coun. Robinson said, "my campaign focus was about the ward and local residents."
Toronto has a program in place to reimburse political donors up to 75 per cent of their contributions to candidates whether they live in the city or not.
Percentage of donations from outside ward
- Jim Karygiannis 71%
- Giorgio Mammoliti 47%
- Raymond Cho 45%
- Frances Nunziata 39%
- Norm Kelly 34%
- Chin Lee 34%
- Jaye Robinson 0%
- Gord Perks 0%
- Kristyn Wong-Tam 1%
- Sarah Doucette 1%
- Mary-Margaret McMahon 2%
- Stephen Holyday 3%
It's one of the few municipalities in the GTA with this kind of program.
The city has estimated that overall rebates for the 2010 election amounted to about $4.8 million.
Why somebody running in [a Toronto ward] should be raising money in Pickering is kind of a weird thing to contemplate.- Zack Taylor, University of Toronto municipal politics expert
When asked about the outside donations, Coun. Karygiannis said in an email that donations can be received from across Ontario.
He also confirmed he signed up for the program that would make his donors eligible to receive the rebate.
People who own businesses in Toronto but don't reside within city boundaries are allowed to vote in municipal elections.
University of Toronto municipal politics expert Zack Taylor told CBC News that might account for some of the outside contributions.
Plus, he said a Toronto city councillor might attract outside donors from partisan political connections or because a councillor's ward might be located along the Toronto boundary lines.
Taylor said he thinks that as long as people who own Toronto businesses are allowed to vote in municipal elections, they should be allowed to give to campaigns as well.
But he said, "Why somebody running in [a Toronto ward] should be raising money in Pickering is kind of a weird thing to contemplate."
When it comes to financing a campaign, he said, "If the incentive was trying to raise that money from the community you're trying to reach, then that would be preferable."
Robinson calls rebates 'very generous'
As for the city's rebate program, the main restrictions are that donors must live in Ontario and the candidate who received the money must register for the program.
"The rebates in Toronto are very generous," said Coun. Robinson. "So, that is a great question: whether those individuals outside of Toronto should should be getting a rebate."
Overall campaign donations varied for councillors. While Norm Kelly had 400 donors contribute to his campaign, Ron Moeser had 20.
Those identified as donating to councillors during the 2014 election include private citizens, lobbyists, developers and individuals appointed to city agencies.
CBC News did not analyze contributions to Coun. Rob Ford, who initially campaigned as a mayoral candidate before dropping out of the race due to health issues, or Councillors Justin Di Ciano and Mark Grimes, who have requested extensions to file their campaign finances with the city.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Scarborough-Agincourt Coun. Jim Karygiannis received $99,400 in campaign contributions, when in fact he received $79,400.