Secret donations (cont.)

The NDP have joined the Liberals in insisting that voters go to the poll without knowing who donated to their campaign. The party revealed the names of labour unions and corporations that gave to the campaign, but withheld the names of individuals who contributed a total of $287,013.12.

“The initial advice we received from [Chief Electoral Officer]  Christine [McCulloch] is that there were privacy concerns,” said N-dip campaign director Matt Hebb. “If she has different advice now, I will take a look at it.’

McCulloch’s press aide Dana Philip Doiron told contrarian last week that, in response to requests for an opinion, McCulloch merely told the parties they should seek their own legal counsel, because it was not appropriate for her to issue legal advice.

Hebb also cited the NDP’s privacy policy, which says that, “The information you provide when you make a contribution to the NS NDP, other than your credit card information and telephone number, will be communicated to Elections Nova Scotia in accordance with the provincial financial contributions laws.” Disclosing the names and addresses of donors, and the amount of their donations, to Elections Nova Scotia is required by law, as is their eventual publication following an election.

No provincial law bars their voluntary disclosure prior to the election. Hebb knows that, so you have to wonder what embarrassing names he’s hiding. Asked to name the top five, he replied, “We’re not embarrassed by any of our donors. We’re simply erring on the side of caution with respect to privacy.”
Translation: Err on the side of secrecy, using the excuse of privacy.

For the record, the Greens have fully disclosed all their donations. The Tories have revealed all donations of $50 or more.  The NDP and the Liberals have disclosed the names of companies and unions that donated to their campaigns, but withheld the names of people.

So much for openness and transparency in our government-in-waiting.