Toronto

Olivia Chow releases donor list, touts $1.7M in donations

Olivia Chow made good on her promise to release the list of her campaign donors on Wednesday, while John Tory provided a general description of the people who have supported his mayoral bid.

John Tory says he’s 'privileged and lucky' to have so many people supporting his campaign

Olivia Chow on donor lists

Toronto

6 years ago
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Olivia Chow explains why she will release her donor list early. 0:20

Olivia Chow made good on her promise to release the list of her campaign donors on Wednesday, while John Tory provided a general description of the people who have supported his mayoral bid.

Chow revealed in a news release that she has raised more than $1.7 million, courtesy of donations from 6,848 people, as of yesterday afternoon.

Her campaign says she's received donations from more voters than Rob Ford did in 2010, or David Miller did in 2003.

Ahead of the release of the list of her donors, Chow had said the information was key for voters to have.

"The donors list is very important because it shows who is behind each candidate," she said over the weekend.

Tory and Doug Ford have indicated they will follow suit ahead of election day.

Tory's campaign has raised more than $2 million so far.

"We were privileged and lucky enough to have hundreds of people who donated small amounts of money online. We have others who have donated slightly larger amounts, but the rules limit that," Tory said Wednesday, in response to a question about the donations he's received.

Tory previously released donor information when he ran for mayor in 2003.

Ford has also pledged to release his donor information, and he's predicting that voters will be surprised at what they see on his list and what they see on Tory's list.

"I have the common people supporting me," he said Saturday.

A trend toward transparency?

David Siegel, a professor of political science at Brock University, said the early release of donor lists has played out repeatedly on campaign trails in recent years, as an expectation of greater transparency has emerged.

"This is something that's talked about around every election in the last few years," he said in a telephone interview with CBC News.

While Chow appears to have been the first to pledge to release her list of donors, Siegel said that won't matter much to the voters if Ford and Tory do the same.

"She'll try to market it that way, but all three of them are going to do it," Siegel said.

Conrad Winn, a professor of political science at Carleton University, said the message from candidates is that they are trying to be as transparent as they can be — though he believes there is a lower bar in place for transparency in general at the municipal level, when compared to the federal level.

"I think federal politics has generally become cleaner than local politics," he said in a telephone interview.

In any case, Siegel said, the public shouldn't be expecting to see too many surprises when Toronto's mayoral candidates release their donor lists, because the people seeking donations know the types of headlines they want to avoid.

"They have to be thinking about this when they are collecting," said Siegel.

More than 161,000 Toronto voters cast their ballots early at advance polls. The rest will have an opportunity do so on Monday.

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