As part of its Democratic Reform Plan, NL Alliance is making two key announcements today that we feel will impact the future of campaigns in this province as well as set the groundwork for how the entire democratic system works for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Leading by example and highlighting one of the much needed changes in campaign finances, NL Alliance is announcing we will no longer accept any Corporate or Union donations of any kind. Additionally, we will instruct our future candidates to follow suit when running in general elections or by-elections. All individual donations collected by candidates or the Provincial entity will also be capped at $5000.
“When we ran in the 2019 election, right after being registered with Elections NL, we announced that we were imposing a $5000 limit on all donations, which we’ve had ever since,” said Graydon Pelley, Leader. “We said it at the time, and it was always our intention, that we wanted to get to a place where we wouldn’t accept corporate or union donations at all. I’m very pleased to say that the Provincial Executive has made that move.”
With this decision, NL Alliance hopes it will show the people of the Province and other Political Groups that it’s possible to run campaigns without corporate influence in decisions and policy, as long as the will is there to do it. To accomplish this we will need the support of individuals more than ever to help fund the work NL Alliance is doing to help bring us to a brighter future. People can go to www.nlalliance.ca/donate to contribute online either one-time or on a regular basis.
“We feel that it’s time for corporate influence to get out of our political landscape, and eliminating corporate and union donations will help with that,” stated Pelley. “That’s why NL Alliance calls on the other organized political entities in the province to do the same.” He went on to say that for too long we’ve allowed corporations with deep pockets to dictate how business is done, in order to win political favour. “We don’t have to look far before we see wealthy corporations and donors lining up to support other political entities in their campaigns, and it’s hard not to wonder what some of those corporations and unions get in return for those donations down the road,” he concluded.
Additionally, but still in the idea of Democratic Reform, Pelley and NL Alliance are also putting out a call for the Government to consider forming a Democratic Reform Commission to oversee all aspects of Democratic Reform in the province.
“It’s been years of rhetoric and talk from elected officials who pretend they want to do something with democratic reform, but I don’t think the people of the Province are fooled by this inaction anymore,” said Pelley. “The all-party committee has seen little to no results, and it’s becoming a spectacle rather than an instrument for real change.”
Furthermore, Pelley calls into question why something as important as Democratic Reform is left in the hands of politicians – the very people who benefit from the broken system, and who have the most to lose if true reform takes place.
“This is not something that should be handled by the people in the legislature, who are arguably in clear conflict of interest on this matter,” Pelley explained. “It should be a truly independent, comprehensive undertaking with clear engagement from as many people as possible.”
This is why we call for the formation of a Democratic Reform Commission (DRC) to undertake the task.
“Similar to the commission formed to oversee Access to Information (ATIPP) several years ago, the DRC should be given a mandate and a scope that covers all critical areas of Democratic Reform,” explained Pelley. “Each member of the commission should be independently appointed and chosen based on their knowledge, expertise, background, and qualification. We must ensure that the best available people for the job are at the table since the future of the province rests on the decisions they will make.”
The DRC should be mandated to explore all aspects of reform when it comes to our democracy, including our current system of Government, roles and responsibilities, the House of Assembly, standing rules and committees, electoral reform, recall legislation, constitutional amendments, political donations, and more.
The commission should also conduct extensive consultations and collaboration with stakeholders, organizations, experts, community groups, everyday citizens and politicians, to hear testimony, receive written submissions, suggestions and ideas that will help make our democracy stronger.
“It will be an incredible piece of work, but one that is necessary and attainable with the right resources and people leading the way,” Pelley said. “No current elected members of the House of Assembly should sit on the DRC, however everyone should be welcome to contribute to the conversation.”
While Newfoundland and Labrador has many challenges facing us, Democratic Reform is one of the most critical issues we face as a province.
“Through our political system, all other areas fall in line,” concluded Pelley “We must do everything we can to strengthen our democracy in Newfoundland and Labrador, for if we have a weak democracy, we have a weak society.”