Thanks for being here. This is a related topic, but one I would love to have your comments and thoughts on.
You mentioned your ideas about the changes that you would like to see made to donation limits and things like that. There's already some concern out there about third parties working with, or allegedly working with, political parties to oppose another political party or a particular candidate, and things like that.
I wonder if lowering those limits might increase that sort of activity. Even since the election, we've seen organizations that are working with political parties or things like that. One example that comes to mind is the news reports from July about this organization called the Council of Canadian Innovators, which was set up in November 2015, right after the Liberal government was elected. In fact, I think it was a week after the government was sworn in that it was set up.
It has four full-time staffers currently, as of July, three of whom were former Liberal staffers. One was a former EA to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, another had been the Minister of Foreign Affairs' campaign manager, and their director of communications had been a spokesperson for Ontario Liberal cabinet ministers. In their fundraising letter that was sent out, they indicated that they would offer monthly meetings with the chief of staff to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in return for a $10,000 donation. That was one of the rewards you received.
Since then, apparently the minister's office felt that was something they wanted to correct. Actually, the chief of staff hadn't met with them monthly; he had only met with them three times since October 2016 up until July of this year. They said they needed to correct that so that it only indicates regular meetings rather than monthly meetings, which I'm not really sure solves any kind of problem that exists.
I want to hear your thoughts on this idea of organizations connected with a political party using those connections to fundraise for their organization and advocate for things that would align with the government or that particular political party.
Would you see that as another version of cash for access? I certainly would say it appears to me as something unethical and sleazy. Would you agree with that characterization? If so, what would you suggest be done to try to prevent those kinds of things from occurring?