Further my previous post, CTV reported in "Liberals stumped by donations policy discrepancy" (Nov.2, 2010):
"Liberal cabinet ministers who defended donations to the governing party by municipally owned utilities were scrambling Tuesday to explain why the party's website says such donations are not allowed.
Acting premier Dwight Duncan and Energy Minister Brad Duguid both said donations to the Liberals from local electrical utilities are acceptable, and allowed, under the Elections Financing Act.
However, the Ontario Liberal Party website specifically states it does not accept donations from "municipalities and their related agencies." It goes on to say if potential donors fall into one of the categories listed then "please do not make a contribution."
Duncan couldn't explain why the language on the Liberal website differs from the party's practice of accepting donations from utilities.
"I didn't put that on the website. I can't give you the difference. You'll have to ask a lawyer," Duncan said.
"All of our returns have been submitted, audited and approved."
Duguid seemed equally unable to explain the Liberals' seemingly conflicted positions on accepting donations from public utilities, and wouldn't comment on the policy outlined on the party's website.
"We try to be as prudent as we can with regard to what we accept and don't accept," he said.
"But at the end of the day we need to be guided by the Elections Finances Act, and we take that very, very seriously."
The conflict between the Liberal's practice of accepting money from public utilities and their stated policy not to do so shows political parties can't be trusted to police themselves when it comes to donations, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
"If it's on their website, and we know already it's a problem in terms of them receiving the donations, then it shows even more we need to clean up this rule," said Horwath.
"The idea of having the political parties self-discipline themselves in this regard is not going to work."
The Opposition said Duncan's attempted defence of the donations and the party's stated policy must be clarified.
"I think the minister needs to give a very straight answer on this issue instead of splitting hairs," said Opposition Leader Tim Hudak.
"This does not look good for the Liberal party position to be seen to be on both sides of this issue."
Duncan was clearly prepared for the second day of the NDP's attack over the utilities' donations to the Liberals, offering quotes from Shakespeare, Moliere, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Caleb Colton instead of a real defence of the government's position.
"No sinners are so intolerant as those that have just turned saints," Duncan quoted from Colton in the legislature.
Ontario Liberal Party president Yasir Naqvi said party policy is not to accept donations from taxpayer-funded agencies, but added the utilities don't fall into that category because they are for-profit corporations.
"Our website is clear in saying that we do not accept money from taxpayer-funded entities, and if we need to clarifiy the language on our website then we will look at that," said Naqvi, an Ottawa member of provincial parliament.
The New Democrats want the government to change the rules to stop local utility companies from making any political donations.
However, the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives don't want to end a practice from which they both benefit. They point out the NDP has also taken donations from the energy sector in the past.
"Mr. Speaker, you may want to caution the member opposite that she could seriously injury herself falling off of her high horse," Duncan fired at Horwath.
The New Democrats also complained Tuesday about municipally owned utility companies hiring "Liberal friendly" firms to lobby the Liberal government and said all money from hydro ratepayers should be used to maintain and improve the electricity system."
The stench of McGuinty's Liberal government is overwhelming. The Liberals' incompetence, smarm and continuous outright spin and lies, is sickening.
Disgusting Dwight Duncan - conducting this greasy Grit gravy train - now has the audacity to tell taxpayers that we have to get a lawyer to decipher whatever deceptions his Liberals are perpetrating at any given moment?
And THIS is flip-flop McGuinty's version of 'transparency and openness' ??!
(By the way: we're still waiting for the Liberal-friendly St.Catharines Standard's interview with MPP Jim Bradley on this subject!! haha)