Cozy dinners with donors just ‘part of the democratic process,’ Wynne says

government secrecyAndrew Coyne, National Post
The premier of Ontario has taken an important stand on the issue of unnamed donors paying thousands of dollars for private meetings with her and her staff. She’s in favour of it.

Another leader caught selling preferential access to the highest bidder might have folded under pressure and abandoned the practice. But there’s a principle at stake here, and Kathleen Wynne is drawing a line in the sand. The principle? A little thing called democracy.

“It’s part of the democratic process,” she said, of the $6,000-a-head cocktail reception and three-course dinner at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel scheduled for this Thursday. Organized by a major lobbying firm, it is advertised as a “small event with a limited number of tickets,” allowing for intimate “one-on-one conversations” with the premier, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli and senior staff. A similar event last month charged $5,000 to speak to Chiarelli and the premier’s chief of staff, Andrew Bevan.

Well, what could be more democratic than that? Are we to confine our notion of democracy to the collective choices of millions of citizens, each having the same vote and the same say in how we are governed? That might meet some formalistic definition of democratic equality. But what about people with greater, shall we say, needs?

Whether the government subsidizes wind power may not matter much to you, but it matters a great deal to someone in, say, the wind power industry. Adjusting for the difference in stakes, the $6,000 an executive splashes out to bend the premier’s ear at a private reception and dinner is worth about the same as a single vote to the average person. (Math available on request.) Read article

4 thoughts on “Cozy dinners with donors just ‘part of the democratic process,’ Wynne says

  1. We speak out….NO ONE HEARS
    We raise ours arms…NO ONE CARES
    We write concerns…NO ONE READS
    We tell stories and give facts…NO ONE WILL LISTEN
    We allowed the Government to deceive us, destroying, manipulating and costing ….but again WE VOTE THEM BACK IN!

  2. Transparency is not the issue, shame is!
    The same lsobbyist firm quoted in the article, Sussex Circle, is registered to represent Algonquin Power/ Windlectric in its dealing with the Ontario Government Ministries to push ahead the 26 turbines on Amherst Island. No citizen was granted a meeting, now we know that if $6000 had been sent with the requests, there might have been a chance of getting someone’s attention. Party financing might be part of the democratic process but listening to taxpayer’ concerns does not seem to be!!!
    Shame on our elected politicians who only listen when money talks.

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