By Gerry Barker
January 14, 2019
Taking a look at the numbers of the recent provincial election submitted by Green Party Leader, Michael Schreiner, as reported to Elections Ontario.
All it took was a tsunami of cash for Mr. Schreiner to trample all of the other candidates in last June’s provincial election, using a boatload of money. According to Elections Ontario, the Schreiner campaign reported receiving income of $152,677.71
As reported in Guelph Today, Schreiner spent $119,864.14 to win the Guelph seat in the Ontario Legislature. He was the only Green Party candidate elected as a member to Queen’s Park. It is reported that the Green Party received some 285,000 votes across the province. It appears that Mr. Schreiner’s vote of some 29,000 in Guelph is ten per cent of the total Green Party vote cast in the province. That is impressive.
One cannot suggest that this was a stunning victory for the Greens. All he needs now are seven more Green Party candidates to attain the status of an official party in the Legislature to be recognized by the Speaker. Recently, he was quoted that he had developed friendships with an undisclosed number of PC members suggesting they may switch parties.
You have to ask the question: “ What’s in it for them?”
The Guelph Today report investigating the election finance’s story discovered that Premier Doug Ford spent $66,889.01 to get elected in the Lakeshore riding. His Progressive Conservative Party received more than 2.2 million votes, electing 73 members to the Legislature to form the government for four years.
Schreiner also spent more that Opposition Leader, Andrea Horwath, who reported spending $101,485.04 to retain her Hamilton seat and the NDP elected 40 members to the Legislature.
So, is there something wrong with this picture?
Let’s drill down into Mike Schreiner’s official financial report regarding his election submitted to Elections Ontario last September.
The Schreiner Reported Assets
His total campaign assets are $72,404.88. This is composed of cash, ($38,649.91), campaign reimbursement entitlement from 2014 civic election ($24,633.74), Accounts receivable ($1,739.90), inventory of campaign materials ($7,389.33)
Liabilities and Surplus
Accounts payable ($7,568.34), Surplus ($64,836.54 deficit). That balances with the Assets of $72,404.88.
Now here comes the interesting part under the title:
Statement of Income and Expenses from May 9 2018 to September 7, 2018
Interest income $12.45
General Contributions at meetings $10.00
Transfers received $93,629.73
Sale of T-shirts $935.00
Total Income $152,677.61
A peek at expenses
The summary of expenses includes spending $22,034.26 on salaries and benefits. Who were these paod staffers and what did they do? That’s slightly less than the total cost of the P.C. campagn supported by 14,000 votes.
Was this a case of Fort Knox against the madding crowd outside the moat, or an episode in the Game of Thrones?
Following the money, two figures catch my eye
First, the $58,090.41 in contributions does not name the contributors or the division between those donating more than $1,200 compared to those donating less. There is a specific rule about donations and contributions because some contributors do not want to be identified, but did all of them not want to be identified?
Did the campaign receive any ‘in kind’ contributions?’ This means supplying services instead of cash. Hypothetical examples could be supplying services such as courier, transporting personnel or being offered rooms or halls for for campaign meetings.
Second, the $93,629 listed as ‘Transfers Received,’ needs clarification in terms of large-scale funds transferred from where and from whom? It should be explained if for no other reason, than, to be transparent and open.
These are serious questions about financial statements such as Mr. Schreiner’s alleged association with Tides Canada. This is an environmental political action organization that has helped finance Green Party candidates in their bid to be elected to Canadian provincial governments, such as British Columbia. A province in which Tides Canada helped elect three Green Party members to the B.C. legislature.
When the grass grows, get out the lawn mower
The B.C. Green Party members hold the balance of power that supports the NDP ruling party. This has had a serious impact on the efforts of the environmental movement to halt reconstruction of the Trans-Mountain pipeline owned by the people of Canada. The renovation of the existing pipeline is to open the door to the Pacific markets for Canadian oil and natural gas.
Despite this, the environmentalists have successfully stalled the T-M construction paralyzing the process for one reason only: To halt production and export of Canadian fossil fuels to global markets.
Tides Canada is a subsidiary of Tides America that has a war chest of some $150 million to support a variety of environmental projects and sponsor political action.
Do you believe that funding of political parties and their candidates should be open and transparent? Mr. Schreiner spending $119,864 to get elected in Guelph completely smothered the financial spending of all the other candidates combined.
In my opinion, based on Mr. Schreiner’s election financial report, corporations or environmental political action committees may have helped finance the Schreiner campaign. What happens in B.C. has little relevance to the city or citizens of Guelph who are now represented by Mr. Schreiner.
But it did, as the Green party finally got a seat for the first time in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. It remains to be seen if Mr. Schreiner’s new role as a Guelph’s MPP will be beneficial to the 29,000 people who elected him.
Frankly, as a citizen, I believe Mr. Schreiner will be too busy beating his own drum to be an effective representative for Guelph.
Want proof? In all the years I worked at the Toronto Star, I never witnessed a lead editorial promoting an individual candidate as the paper did before the election. It endorsed Mike Schreiner, stating the electors in Guelph could make history electing him. And it did, with possibly a little help from his friends from far away.