- (Web posted Feb. 19, 2002 @ 4:25 p.m.) As federal Liberals squabble about membership
rules, the idea that future leadership hopefuls should disclose the names of
their financial supporters may be the next contentious issue the party will
regulations that guide
political party leadership campaigns are established by the parties themselves.
The Liberals officially view leadership
campaign financing as a internal policy matter, but some Liberals support the
notion of openness.
"My basic principle is yah declare them
(a candidate's financial supporters)," said Joe Volpe, Liberal member of
Parliament for Eglinton-Lawrence, during an interview with PoliticsWatch.com
" Who's afraid of telling people where you
get you're money?"
The issue received some prominent exposure
late last year
when Canada's Chief Electoral Officer Jean Pierre
Kingsley said Liberals, who want to be
the party's next leader, should disclose the names of their financial donors to
Volpe added, however, it is an idea the party
should study before any changes are implemented.
Carolyn Bennett, Liberal member of Parliament for St. Paul's, also supports openness in Liberal leadership campaign financing.
When asked if Liberal leadership hopeful
Paul Martin should supply a list of his financial backers Dr. Bennett broadened
her response to include all potential candidates.
"I think everybody should know, if
you're the Minister of Health or if you're the Minister of Heritage...we
should know who's contributing to the leadership campaign," Dr. Bennett
think it is just about transparency and accountability, and I think it becomes one
important antidote to the cynicism and apathy that we're starting to see. "
"Bring them in line with what we all
would like to see, and that is that there is always transparency," he said.
Some Liberals, however, see the issue of
campaign financing as an internal party matter, that does not require Kingsley's
Still, Dr. Bennett maintains releasing
campaign finance information publicly could improve the reputation and
perception of politicians among Canadians.
"It's just important that government
and politicians be trusted," Dr. Bennett said. "We're going to erode democracy if we
try to turn this around in terms of voter turnout...we've got to be able to
put a much better face on government."
Stan Keyes, chairman of the Liberal party
caucus, and Ontario MP Albina Guarnieri, were also asked to comment on campaign
financing but they declined.