Limiting the influence of money on politics

Elections are an exercise in public expression and active citizenship. A citizen marking their ballot is the most fundamental act in a democracy. The trust between a citizen and their representative is crucial to ensuring their vote matters and reflects their will. To ensure this is protected, we must approach fundraising with a commitment to transparency.

Politics must be about people, ideas and strong representation. Being elected, being chosen by voters, unequivocally means accountability to constituents.

As I have gone door-to-door across Ward 4 since announcing my candidacy, one of the issues residents have shared with me most frequently is a concern about the influence of corporations and unions on City Council and on City Hall. It is important to respond to these concerns and facilitate a repair of trust within our democratic system. Higher trust unlocks increased voting rates, diverse ideas and greater accountability.

I want to be clear that this isn’t about pointing fingers or to diminish the progress of committed councillors over the years, or presently. I believe that fundraising, while important to any campaign, needs to be a transparent process guided by healthy regulations to provide an insulating space between the influence of donors and authenticity of ideas.

As a candidate for City Councillor in Ward 4, I am making fundraising commitments to maximize transparency and limit the influence of corporations and unions. I will:

  • Not be accepting donations from any company, organization or union. I believe this is the right thing to do in response to the feedback from residents and for our democratic system as a whole. We have already seen this at the federal level and I am excited to bring this conversation to the municipal level.

  • Cap all contributions to my campaign at $500. This will apply to all individuals who wish to financially support my campaign. This amount is far lower than the regulations permit which limit business and union donations at $2,000, and individual donations at $1,000.

  • Publish all donations to my campaign as they come in, including names and amounts.This focus on transparency is well beyond the legal requirement to disclose contributions over $250 within 90 days after the election. I believe anyone interested in my campaign and my platform has the right to know how the campaign is funded prior to election day. You can take a look right now.

  • Publish my campaign budget. This is important to me not only because it encourages greater transparency among all candidates, but because I believe it will also help anyone thinking about running to achieve a greater level of comfort and familiarity with how campaigns are run. This may also allow people who are thinking about contributing to my campaign to understand where the money goes.

I believe these are some of the steps that will help us create a better kind of politics and a better kind of government for our community, with greater accountability to our constituents. Transparency, healthy regulations and diverse ideas are incredibly powerful. This is the democracy I believe in. If you agree and would like to support my campaign, I would be grateful for your personal donation.

I am looking forward to hearing more from residents in Ward 4 and community leaders across the city.  For more thoughts from the campaign trail, sign up and stay in touch. Together, let’s build a city that works for us all.

Ian Froude