05.05.2017 08:00 AM

Government, lobbyists and the media


From CP via CTV:

“I am very happy to see members of the press this evening,” Trudeau said early in his remarks, which drew subdued applause from the roughly 300-person crowd.

“We are very happy to see (journalists) among us and thank you very much for being here,” he said, looking at reporters and raising his hands to give a conspicuous, single clap.

The new system involves holding fundraisers featuring Trudeau or ministers only in public places, announcing them in advance, allowing the media to attend and disclosing the guest list within the following 45 days…

Liberal party spokesman Braeden Caley said there was “a pause” on national fundraising events throughout the first quarter while the new standards for open and transparent fundraising events were being prepared.

Some Liberals are pointing to that as one reason for lacklustre fundraising figures in the first three months of this year, when the Conservatives raised nearly twice as much money from a larger pool of contributors, even though they are in the midst of a leadership race that ought to be siphoning would-be donations to the party.

I must say that I found the single-clap thing – and drawing the media’s presence to everyone’s attention – to be a bit Trump/Harper-esque. It was unnecessary.  The media are doing their job, and their presence is a good thing.

Brendan Caley’s remarks also help to explain the fundraising gap I wrote about a couple days ago.  (The same thing has happened in Ontario: the governing Liberals hit “pause” on fundraising, to respect the new rules, while the two opposition parties did not.)

As I’ve written many times before: until the media give political parties free ad space – and until the taxpayer is willing to pay for everything that parties need to do during election campaigns – fundraising is obviously required.

The new rules ensure that it is all done out in the open, and without the possibility of undue influence.  That’s good, and deserving of more than a single hand-clap.




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    Joel MacLeod says:

    I’ve long thought that a good solution to the problem for fundraising, would be to prohibit television and radio ads. It would help limit the costs of fighting an election for all parties. It would greatly level the playing field imho. The costs of running a national (and even provincial) election would be greatly reduced. As well, the discourse during an election would have to be focused mostly on policy and promises made by the various parties during the campaign.

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    Matt says:

    Yeah, sorry. I’m calling bullshit on the claim they took a “pause” on national fundraising.

    Even Braeden Caley acknowledged later in the article there was only a “small connection” to the alleged fundraising “pause” and the lower quarterly figure.

    And as for praising Trudeau and the Liberals for the media being there, well, that may be a little premature.

    The article also mentions that according to two Liberal sources, the new legislation will have no requirement that the media be allowed to attend these fundraisers:

    “John O’Leary, her spokesman, said the government aims to introduce the legislation this spring.

    One Liberal source said the legislation will be essentially the same as the measures the party brought in, which would prevent the party having to once again change the way they are doing things.

    One significant difference, according to two Liberal sources, will likely be the lack of a requirement to open the events up to the media.”

    As Coyne is known to say “sunlight is the best disinfectant”. So why not put in the legislation the media must be allowed to attend any fundraiser they want?

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    Charlie says:

    “Liberal party spokesman Braeden Caley said there was “a pause” on national fundraising events throughout the first quarter while the new standards for open and transparent fundraising events were being prepared.”

    I suspected it had something to do with this and what a phenomenally dumb reason.

    If this had been the same situation but with the Conservatives, they wouldn’t have stopped fundraising for one second while they “adapted” to new standards.

    This is the fundamental problem with this Liberal Party: they are far too easy to knock off their balance. They let a BS story about fundraising and “cash for access”, peddled by the Opposition and perpetuated by the media, to hit them hard on the fundraising front. What the hell is the point of being in government if you can’t make a few dumb rich guys think they’re hobnobbing with them while you rob them blind?

    To acquiesce to the NDP and CPC so easily just because you can’t get a handle on the narrative is what is going to kill this government.

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