AUDIO – DESCRIPTION:
On January 27, 2017, on The Andrew Lawton Show (CFPL AM 980, London, Ontario), Robert Metz, president and CFO of Freedom Party of Ontario, was interviewed by host Andrew Lawton about changes to the way political parties are financed in Ontario, and about proposals to replace Ontario’s first past the post electoral system with a system of proportional representation.
Lawton and Metz first discussed Ontario provincial Bill 2 (the Election Finances Statute Law Amendment Act, 2016), which simultaneously gives the Liberal, Progressive Conservative, NDP, and Green Parties millions of taxpayer dollars, annually, while imposing a barrier to the private funding of political parties (specifically, lowering the maximum contribution to $1,200 per annum, down from over $9,000.00 per annum). Metz explained that the bill takes away the public’s power over political parties because the government pays the bigger four parties out of tax revenue, regardless of whether those parties are representing the views of the public. The bill handicaps independent candidates too. The bill isn’t about funding elections: it’s about funding the biggest political parties year after year so that they can keep a lock on power, and prevent any emerging parties from competing with them. The law also violates freedom of association: it prohibits a party leader from attending his or her own fundraising events. Metz explained that one of the other purposes of the legislation is to allow political parties to spy on one another, and their contributors. Overall, said Metz, the new law “closes the door to the democratic process.”
After discussing the financing of political parties, Lawton and Metz turned to the issue of electoral reform. Metz explained that although Freedom Party might benefit a bit from a switch from our current “first past the post” system to a system of proportional representation, Freedom Party is against a switch to proportional representation. The Westminster model should be considered “sacred” said Metz. Freedom Party is in favour of principled governance, which is undermined by the minority government that results from proportional representation.
Listen to the interview: