Campaign finance rule changes urged as civic vote looms
Advocacy group Civic Camp wants new limits on donations, more transparency
As next month's municipal election approaches there are renewed calls for changes to election spending rules.
There is currently a $5,000 limit for a single donation, but candidates can spend as much money as they like.
Peter Rishaug of the public advocacy group Civic Camp said his group has a number of reforms in mind.
"To see a one- time campaign contribution limit of $2,500 per individual organization and 75 cents per population in a ward," he said.
That would give mayoral candidates up to $750,000 and councillors $50 to $60,000.
Rishaug said these ideas were talked about during the last election, but little has changed.
"They're usually, unfortunately, pushed back due to constraints or the amount of other legislation in front of it. To push to the next election, next election …," he said.
"I think there's a definite push from within our group as well as broad-based citizenry that's come to us suggesting to us there's a real need for a transparent, fair system."
Rishaug said Civic Camp would also like candidates to have to disclose who their donors are within two business days.
Wayne Frisch, who is running for Ward 11 from his home, said there shouldn't be large financial disparities between campaigns.
"We have budgets of $200,000 for some campaigns which are funded by special interest groups and corporations," he said.
"On the opposite side we have community-based campaigns that are running at a twentieth of that size."
James Maxim, who is also running in Ward 11, has had a headquarters, signs and staff for several months.
"And we want to get higher voter turnout and the only way you're going to be able to do it is by having a full-fledged organization and campaign structure that gets out and gets the message to the people," Maxim said.
He said caps on fundraising are not democratic because it means some people can't donate.
The election is Oct. 21.