According to a recent CATCH release, it seems that some candidates for this upcoming municipal election are shying away from accepting donations from unions or corporations. While the practice remains legal, some are expected to distance themselves from, in particular, the influence of land developers.
You may recall that in a 10 Tough Question interview on the Hamiltonian, Mayor Eisenberger stated
“I have no doubt that the majority of special interest campaign contributions are intended to influence. At the municipal level, the concentration of campaign contributions from a single set of interests is extraordinary and the imbalance is systemic. In the 2006 Municipal election nearly half of the money raised by Hamilton candidates came from corporations or trade unions. Of that 77% of the corporate donations and 62% of Union contributions, went to incumbents. In addition, individuals who own a business or businesses or an individual who heads a union or is involved with one has multiple opportunities to contribute to election campaigns through both their business and personal contributions. Regular citizens do not have the same opportunity. It is about a level playing field for all Hamiltonians
I believe when one source of campaign funding dominates municipal campaigns - and is consistently shown to favour incumbents over other candidates, then there is a need to review the rules. With public confidence in elected officials and democratic institutions in decline, it is incumbent on us to explore every measure to enhance the integrity of the political process."
“I’d be surprised if there weren’t more candidates who decided to run without corporate or union contributions,” says Robert MacDermid, a York University professor who tracks municipal election donations. “We do need to get the influence of developers out of municipal politics.”
Corporations provided between 69 and 82 percent of the reported contributions to nine of the individuals who won council seats – Maria Pearson, Bernie Morelli, Sam Merulla, Dave Mitchell, Terry Whitehead, Tom Jackson, Chad Collins, Lloyd Ferguson and Brad Clark – and 40 percent for Rob Pasuta. Scott Duvall avoided corporate gifts but took 40 percent of his funds from unions.
Maria Pearson topped the list, collecting 82% of her funds from corporations. She was closely followed by Bernie Morelli (80%) and Sam Merulla (79%). Dave Mitchell, Terry Whitehead, Lloyd Ferguson, Tom Jackson and Chad Collins were clustered in the 73-75% range, while Brad Clark got 69% of his financial support from corporate donors.
Bob Bratina, Margaret McCarthy, Russ Powers, Brian McHattie and Mayor Fred Eisenberger did not accept any donations from corporations or unions. Source of this information are various CATCH reports.
Do you agree with the Mayor’s assessment? Will you be supporting candidates if they are accepting these types of donations? Does it begin to explain why certain policies or positions taken are not exactly "people friendly"?