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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Watching Democracy Watch

Stephen Taylor is puzzled about the language in a Democracy Watch report on party fundraising released yesterday.

The Liberals have many more donors donating more than $1,000 than all the other parties combined. (DW suggests the max limit should be reduced to $1,000 as most Canadians cannot afford to give as much as $5,000)

Gomery has revealed that the Liberals have allegedly used undeclared corporate-bankrolled "volunteer" labour to work election campaigns in Quebec.

The Liberal Party receives four times more money from riding associations and candidates than all the other parties combined. Remember that the identity of donors who donate to a candidate or riding association and then have their donation transferred to a party are not required to be disclosed quarterly, allowing parties to hide the identity of donors for up to 18 months.

Where does Democracy Watch find fault in the Conservative Party of Canada?

In a year where a commission of inquiry hears evidence about hundreds of thousands of dollars flowing to the Liberal Party in unreported, illegal cash and in-kind contributions, allegedly in exchange for favoritism in government ad contracts, Democracy Watch is worried about $85-a-year donors corrupting the process of government in Canada.

The DW report includes valuable information, and it's damning stuff for the Liberals. The puzzling portion is that DW goes on to condemn all parties equally - an assertion that seems to have little basis in the facts or figures presented.

Posted by Kate McMillan on May 31, 2005 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Having read both Stephen Taylor's comments, and the Democracy Watch press release, I have to say that Taylor's comments miss the mark. I see no slight to the Conservative party on the part of Democracy Watch. On the contrary, the evidence overwhelmingly condemns the Liberal party.

Taylor's perceived slight is D.W.'s comment that only by identifying the under-$200-donors will prove that those amounts weren't nefariously funnelled by some large corporation or other. I believe that this is simply stating a fact.

Of course, much of the media in this country is heavily biased towards the Liberals and the NDP, but this report is simply not part of that trend.

If you want bias, then just wait until the CBC gets around to covering this report!

Posted by: Mike van Lammeren | 2005-05-31 7:41:30 PM

OK. It took me all of 30 seconds to find some Liberal/NDP spin on Democracy Watch's report.


The first point Macleans makes is so important that they make it twice, in the headline and the first sentence: The Conservatives collected more money than the Liberals.

Here's a sample of their heavily-spun reporting style, from the 4th sentence of the article:
The fundraising came against a backdrop of daily eye-popping testimony at the Gomery inquiry into sponsorship corruption, pre-election manouevring and national party conventions for both the Conservatives and the Liberals.

How does "Gomery" and "Conservative national party convention" even wind up in the same sentence, if not to 'spin' this story into one of the only outs for Liberal scoundrels: "All politicians are equally corrupt. (So you might as well vote for the Liberals.)"

The article does go on to list the major points of Democracy Watch's report, but not before setting the tone in the first few sentences.

Spin you bastards! Spin!

Posted by: Mike van Lammeren | 2005-05-31 7:57:45 PM

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