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Avik Jain and Ariadna Baranoff

Keep your cash

Tim Hudak’s second attempt at the Ontario Premiership was hindered by a barrage of union-funded attack ads, inciting fear amongst the population and making a mockery of the democratic process. Organized labour groups like the Ontario Provincial Police Association and Working Families Ontario libelled the Progressive Conservative platform in the public sphere, maliciously claiming that it was Mr. Hudak’s intention to gut schools and hospitals. The fact that organizations can force their members to indirectly or directly contribute to slander, while simultaneously diverting blame from the politicians that they favour, is deplorable, and highlights campaign finance reform as a subject that requires immediate addressing. Super PACs (political action committees) drew much attention in the last American election cycle, with the pro-Obama PAC Priorities USA Action pitted against the pro-Romney PAC Restore our Future. They respectively spent $65 million and $142 million, resulting in about a fourth of total financing in the 2012 presidential election. Union contributions to the Democrats made up the difference created by conservative groups. PACs arose due to the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act, which was passed in the USA to deter the emergence of a plutocracy. The law capped individual campaign contributions, but was circumvented by the creation of single-issue groups. Not being political parties, these action committees did not have to observe fundraising or spending limits. Money has increased its role in American elections ever since, most recently with the 2010 Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court. The decision prohibited governmental restriction of political expenditures by corporations, associations and labor unions, incredulously citing the first amendment as precedent. Freedom of speech is the right of individuals to express opinions without reprisal, not the right of union bosses, company owners, lobbyists and religious leaders to selfishly taint the electoral process through uncompromising praise or criminal… Read More