Helping Ideas Triumph over the Power of Money

Helping Ideas Triumph over the Power of Money

As published by the Ottawa Sun and 13th Forward: October 2, 2018.

Whatever your political or ideological beliefs may be, please vote in this October’s municipal election. In fact, I’ll turn a cliché on its head for indifferent voters: I don’t want the government you deserve.

However, before you cast that ballot you might be surprised to learn that sitting governments spend considerable public funds researching your concerns; which they may then ignore unless you make it impossible for them to dismiss those needs through organized advocacy.

While many are concerned about the massive influence of corporate developers, who employ lobbyists and targeted donations to further their interests, those activities are perfectly legal. I agree with incumbent Alta Vista councillor Jean Cloutier who recently said, I firmly believe in everyone’s democratic right to contribute to candidates’ campaigns…” However, I offer the following adjustment.

Encouraging targeted donations to individual councillors and mayoral candidates while offering a generous tax break will always be controversial. I suggest that any company or individual either currently doing business with the city or seeking such business should be forbidden from targeted donations and encouraged to donate to a general election fund to be shared equally with all candidates. Of course, existing tax deductions would apply and donors could feel secure in the knowledge that their contributions were supporting democracy by helping ideas triumph over the power of money.

They say money talks, but maybe it should learn to listen as well.