OTTAWA - (Web posted April 11, 2002 @ 5:30
- New Democrat MP Lorne Nystrom says there should be openness in political
leadership campaign financing in Canada, and he wants Finance Minister Paul
Martin to lead the way.
Martin could set an example by doing this voluntarily," said Nystrom, the
member of Parliament for Regina-Qu'Appelle.
On Wednesday, it was announced a $25,000
contribution to Martin's unofficial Liberal leadership campaign was going to be
sent back to the donor.
The incident has raised howls of protest
from the Opposition benches because the money was raised by Calgary lawyer Jim
Palmer, who was working for the Department of Finance when the donation was
On Thursday, Nystrom said Ottawa should
follow a recommendation the Chief Electoral Officer made late last year that
apply to candidates in a general election campaign should also apply to
candidates in a leadership campaign.
If that were to occur, political leadership
hopefuls would be forced to disclose all of their major financial backers.
Nystrom also said Canadians deserve to
know how long, potential leadership candidates, such as Martin, have been
fund-raising and where they're keeping their money.
"My question is what else is there?
"What else is in the accounts? How many accounts exist?" asked
"We need full transparency of all
monies that are raised for political purposes in this country."
backbench Liberal MPs, such as Carolyn Bennett and Joe Volpe, have said they
want transparency in leadership campaign financing.
New Brunswick Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc
added his voice to that cause too. However, he would not offer any method
as to how that transparency could be achieved.
"The problem is there's a bit of a
legislative vacuum.... with respect to nomination campaigns... or to become the leader
of a party," said LeBlanc after Wednesday's Question Period.
"I think that we have to make those
processes, nomination campaigns just in local ridings, and leadership campaigns
for all parties, have to be transparent and reasonable."
In the meantime, Nystrom is doubtful there will be campaign finance
reform in time for the next federal election.
"They're not going to address it,"
he said. "They
have a leadership campaign coming, and they're going to raise millions of
dollars from corporations, and they don't want Canadian people to know who is
paying the piper."