Andrew 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