Letter: Fairness for all in municipal elections

Karen Wright, president of the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association, says the issue of banning corporate and union donations all the way through municipal elections is the most important one for the residents of Ottawa. Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen

Re: Time to talk about changing city’s campaign financing rules, March 25; and, City Hall Blog: Who said what on banning union and corporate donations, March 26.

The issue of banning corporate and union donations all the way through municipal elections is the most important one for the residents of Ottawa. Although we are disappointed that Council is not moving forward with changes presently, we feel it remains the most important matter for which to keep advocating.

Fairness is at the heart of the matter. Residents who live here, pay taxes and contribute to our community simply wish to be sure that no one organization or business has more influence at city hall as a result of the donations that they may be able to make at election time.

The change simply makes sense. Churches, sports groups, hospitals, and community organizations like ours aren’t able to donate to municipal campaigns. In order to even the playing field, businesses and unions must also be excluded.

Yes, the province needs to grant this change. But we wouldn’t be the first city in Ontario to request more regulate over electoral rules. Toronto made the same request and implemented the new rules six years and two elections ago. This is the most important issue, and citizens in Ottawa care about this unfairness in our elections. That was witnessed at our AGM in October 2014 when the membership voted unanimously in favour of this change.

We can all agree in the principle of “one person, one vote.” The same must be applied to donations. One person, one vote — one person, one donation.

Karen Wright, President, Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association 

Share your views on this and other topics to the editor by writing to [email protected]