Ontario Liberal Party must obey election laws



    PC Party President asks Chief Electoral Officer to investigate Liberal
    connections to "Working Families Coalition"

    TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - Progressive Conservative Party President Blair
McCreadie today asked Ontario's Chief Electoral Officer to investigate the
Ontario Liberal Party for potential violations of provincial election laws.
    In a letter sent today, McCreadie said that key organizers of a group
known as the "Working Families Coalition" were also working for the Ontario
Liberal Party and their registered candidates at the same time they were
working for the Coalition.
    "It is implausible - if not impossible - for the Coalition to have been
an independent third party (during the 2003 campaign) given that the same
individuals were providing the same key strategic services to both the Ontario
Liberal Party and the Coalition at the same time," McCreadie said.
    McCreadie called upon the Chief Electoral Officer to conduct an
investigation using its powers of subpoena under the Ontario Election Act to
obtain all documents from the Ontario Liberal Party, Working Families
Coalition and key strategists relating to the Coalition's advertising and
political action campaigns.
    Specifically, McCreadie asked that the Chief Electoral Officer
investigate whether the Ontario Liberal Party had prior knowledge or
involvement with the Coalition in either the 2003 or 2007 election campaigns.
    "Any such involvement would contravene the Election Finances Act,"
McCreadie said, "It would also require the Coalition's advertising
expenditures to be properly treated as expenses incurred by the Ontario
Liberal Party."
    McCreadie is also asking for contributions to the Coalition to be deemed
as Ontario Liberal Party donations and therefore subject to the same rules of
disclosure and contribution limits as defined under the Act.
    The Ontario Election Act defines political advertising as "advertising in
any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium with the purpose of promoting
or opposing any registered party, or the election of a registered candidate".



    
                                 Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         WORKING FAMILIES COALITION

    Who is the Working Families Coalition?

    The 2007 version of the Working Families Coalition (WFC) is an initiative
of the Provincial Building Trades and is a group of labour unions primarily
comprised of the

    -  Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association
    -  Canadian Auto Workers
    -  Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
    -  International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128
    -  International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
    -  Millwrights
    -  International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793
    -  Painters District Council 46
    -  Ontario Pipe Trades Council

    In 2003, Marcel Wieder of Arrow Communications, Pollara, and Now
Communications created and co-ordinated the Coalition's advertising and
research strategy.
    According to a June 15, 2007 column in the Toronto Star by Ian Urquhart,
Arrow Communications has been rehired for 2007, and discussions have taken
place with regards to Pollara's reprising its role for this campaign.

    What is the goal of the Working Families Coalition?

    During the 2003 Ontario election, the WFC ran a series of negative attack
ads, primarily through television for the purpose of defeating the PC Party of
Ontario.
    They are planning to reprise their role in 2007 with the theme of "You
Decide." According to Buzz Hargrove, "Our goal is to make sure the Tories
don't get elected here."

    But who is the Working Families Coalition, really?

    The Working Families Coalition is primarily funded by trade unions.
However, the directing minds behind the Coalition and it's advertising
campaign, are also Liberal activists and donors, and suppliers to both the
Liberal government and the Ontario Liberal Party.

    Marcel Wieder/Arrow Communications/Policomm

    Marcel Wieder is the president of Arrow Communications and also runs a
company called Policomm.
    During the 2003 campaign, as he was creating and coordinating the
advertising campaign for the Working Families Coalition, his companies were
providing the same types of services for the Ontario Liberal Party.
    According to records filed with Elections Ontario by the Ontario Liberal
Party, during the 2003 campaign, Arrow Communications and Policomm were paid a
total of $250,467.10 by the Ontario Liberal Party and its candidates.
    During the 2005 by-election in the riding of
Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey, Policomm was paid $5,750 for brochures by the
Ontario Liberal Party.
    During that same by-election, Policomm was paid an additional $7,537.34
for brochures by Bob Duncanson, the candidate for the Ontario Liberal Party
    In the November 2005 by-election in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River,
Policomm was paid $11,500 for brochures by the Ontario Liberal Party.
    In the September 2006 by-election in Parkdale-High Park, Policomm was paid
$8,892 by Sylvia Watson, the candidate for the Ontario Liberal Party.
    During 2006, Arrow Communications was paid $192,672.34 by the Ontario
Liberal Party.
    According to the Public Accounts of Ontario, from 2003 to 2007, Arrow
Communications received $1,150,885 in contracts from the McGuinty Liberal
government.
    Arrow Communications is listed on an internal Liberal campaign website as
a preferred supplier for the 2007 campaign for the Ontario Liberal Party.

    Pollara

    Pollara's President and CEO is Don Guy, former Chief of Staff to Dalton
McGuinty. He was the campaign manager in 2003 and again in 2007 for the
Ontario Liberal Party.
    According to records filed with Elections Ontario by the Ontario Liberal
Party, Pollara was paid $16,585.00 in 2003 for pre-writ activities for the
Ontario Liberal Party.
    During the 2003 campaign, while Pollara was polling for the WFC, the
company was also paid $293,549.00 for polling services for the Ontario Liberal
Party.
    According to the Public Accounts of Ontario, from 2003 to 2007, Pollara
received $2,661,263 in contracts from the McGuinty Liberal government.
    In 2007, Pollara is listed on an internal Liberal campaign website as a
preferred supplier for the Ontario Liberal Party.

    Sponsoring Organizations

    Since 2003, the various entities associated with the 2007 Working Families
Coalition have made a combined total of at least $568,387.60 in donations to
the Ontario Liberal Party, its candidates, and its riding associations.
According to records filed with Elections Ontario by the Ontario Liberal
Party, these donations include:

    -  Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association - $175,475.40
    -  Canadian Auto Workers - $200.00
    -  Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation - $170,713.80
    -  International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128 - $5,740
    -  International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers - $53,895.74
    -  Millwrights - $1,254.24
    -  International Union of Operating Engineers Local 793 - $66,389.92
    -  Ontario Pipe Trades Council - $20,640.26
    -  Provincial Building Trades Council (including local Building Trades
       Councils, the Central Ontario Building Trades, and the Unionized
       Building and Construction Trades) - $26,657.04

    Less than two months ago, the International Union of Operating Engineers
Local 793 received a grant for $1,987,500 from the McGuinty Liberal
government. The President of Local 793, Gary O'Neil is also the Chair of the
Coalition. Local 793 has also recently held two fundraisers for the Ontario
Liberal Party at its union banquet hall.
    





For further information:

For further information: Ingrid Thompson, Ontario PC Campaign
Headquarters, (647) 722-1704

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