Kathy Dunderdale OK with leadership finance disclosure

November 21, 2013 11:31 AM

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Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale says she is willing to look at mandatory disclosure rules of financing for party leadership races.

Speaking with reporters after a Progressive Conservative fundraiser on Wednesday night in St. John's, Dunderdale said she is willing to look at having Elections Newfoundland and Labrador take charge of overseeing leadership races.

"I don't have a problem with full disclosure ... Certainly it's something we can look at," Dunderdale said.

"I don't have any difficulty with the people of the province knowing the sources of the funding for political parties — no, no problem."

Dunderdale's remarks come on the heels of last weekend's Liberal leadership convention, in which winner Dwight Ball acknowledged that he spent between $200,000 and $300,000 on his campaign, and that about $200,000 of that came from his own pocket.

The Liberals have come under fire from other parties for not disclosing campaign contributions. Other frontrunners in the campaign, Cathy Bennett and Paul Antle, also spent heavily to woo Liberal supporters.

The Liberal leadership convention, though, was the first in the province since Lorraine Michael waltzed to victory at an NDP meeting in 2006. The prior Liberal convention was in 2001, at an acrimonious contest that pitted victor Roger Grimes against John Efford and Paul Dicks. The Tories have not held a leadership convention since Lynn Verge defeated Loyola Sullivan in 1995.

Dunderdale said the PCs already have a leadership campaign cap per candidate of $200,000, and that any single donor can contribute $10,000. She said the party is reviewing its rules and will debate them at a forthcoming meeting.

The PC fundraiser on Wednesday night — dubbed An Evening with the Premier — filled a large room, with donors contributing $500 per plate. Once expenses are paid, the party hopes to clear $150,000. The party already had about $700,000 saved as a war chest for the next provincial election campaign.

The Tories have been trailing both the NDP and the Liberals in recent opinion polls.

"When you start running government like you're running a popularity contest, which we did far too long in this province, and sometimes far too long in this country, then we get our people in trouble," she said.

Source: cbc.ca

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