Tag Archives: Professor Robert MacDermid

Election races with no incumbent

Toronto election to produce shake-up
Some wards feature no incumbent as councillors retire
(Column written March 31 for Town Crier.)

We are guaranteed new political faces at city hall.
Here’s a sampling of the changes, why it will make these election races exciting and should increase voter turn out but may make it hard for constituents to choose new reps.
In midtown, councillors Kyle Rae and Michael Walker are retiring and in the east end Case Ootes is doing the same. Councillors Joe Pantalone, Rob Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti are running for mayor rather than re-election in their wards. As of April 1, a total of 36 candidates are registered in these six races with no incumbent councillors.
But the absence of incumbents, doesn’t mean newcomers will have an easier time getting elected. In fact, they may have to fight just as hard.
Toronto Centre Rosedale Councillor Rae’s Ward 27 is a prime example. His name won’t be on the ballot, but 12 candidates have registered here so far to try and replace him.
Name recognition can still be a factor in races with no incumbent, says University of Toronto political science professor Larry LeDuc. Continue reading

City bans corp and union donations

Toronto votes to eliminate this type of election funding
Heated debate results in 29-12 vote for reforms
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Dec. 3 for Town Crier.)

Councillor Michael Walker

Councillor Michael Walker has been pushing for election reforms since 2001.

It is either a large democratic step forward or a huge setback that will make it less apparent who’s funding local politicians campaigns.
Those two polarized opinions dominated an all day debate when city council voted to ban corporate and union election campaign contributions.
The decision means all candidates running for city council will have to get their funding from individuals only in next year’s election.
Mayor David Miller was able to raise over $1 million in the 2006 election solely through individuals and he pushed council to vote for finance reforms.
“I know there are different views in respect to corporate and union donations. With respect to those who think we should maintain that practise, I say it’s out of date,” Miller said during the heated debate.

Continue reading

Ban corp and union donations in elections

Toronto muses ban on union and corporate contributions
New policy must be passed by Dec. 31 in time for 2010 election
(Column written Nov. 6 for Town Crier.)

After years of debate, delay and foot dragging, the city plans to deal with the hot button issue of banning corporate and union donations in elections.
I would like to say it’s about time, but truthfully the city is dangerously flirting with running out of time.
This is a case of waiting until the eleventh hour to tackle an issue politicians clearly aren’t eager to vote on. Any new election finance reform policy must pass before the end of this year because all candidates can start registering on Jan. 4, 2010.
There’s no reason to defer the issue any longer.

Continue reading

How to fund democracy in Toronto

Should corporations and unions contribute cash to political campaigns?
Council considers banning this kind of donation in city elections
(Originally published Jan 16/09 for the Town Crier.)

I first wrote this  column six months ago, but I think it is even more timely now for three reasons.
Firstly, the city just came through a 39-day strike by two union locals 416 and 79 where there were all kinds of accusations that Mayor David Miller is too cosy with unions. (By the way, Miller took zero corporate or union cash contributions in the last election). This leads to the second reason why this opinion piece is relevant now, the next Toronto election is in 2010 and you can bet politicians’ connections to unions will be a very hot topic. And lastly, the city will be revisiting the issue of banning corporate and union donations in the fall and could make a decision BEFORE next year’s election. So onto my original column…

Getting elected isn’t cheap. Some of our midtown councillors spent over $60,000 a piece and Mayor David Miller almost $1.2 million on the latest campaign.
So it begs the question who is footing the bill? City council is wrestling, yet again, with a plan to ban corporate and union campaign contributions. Continue reading