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Constituency Office
39 Norfolk St. N.
Simcoe, ON N3Y 3N6
Phone: (519) 428-0446
Phone: (905) 765-8413
Fax: (519) 428-0835

Queens Park
Rm 206, North Wing
Legislative Building
Toronto, ON M7A 1A8
Phone: (416) 325-8404
Fax: (416) 325-8408

Dunnville Outreach Office
Chamber of Commerce
231 Chestnut Street
Dunnville, ON

Big money has too much

influence on elections

By MPP Toby Barrett

Serious allegations have been raised of late as to the conduct of the Ontario government, and the perception that it may have turned doing government business in to a money-making machine for political gain.

Two years ago I drafted a proposal to limit corporate and union donations to political parties. In some quarters, I immediately found myself about as popular as a snake at a garden party.

Those in the business felt my dramatic restriction on donations would severely underfund a process that has grown to multi-millions of dollars a year in political lobbying and advertising and influence peddling.

My position is that the collusion of government and big money is skewing policy and political decision-making – essentially subverting our cherished and long tradition of democracy where a person’s vote is meant to count.

In my travels, I observe cynicism and distrust of what is seen as a rigged system bought and paid for by big unions, big corporations and other special interest groups. And I do point out, as far as I’m concerned, this is not the case in our riding of Haldimand-Norfolk.

There is a stigma attached to those in power soliciting and accepting very large donations. In the eyes of many, such a politician is seen as a puppet who is corrupt and not to be trusted. You may outspend your competitors but you remain forever in the pocket of your campaign donors.

Those of us who run locally know it is more than feasible to compete in an election and win an election without spending, and accepting, huge amounts of money – as long as the playing field is level. Case in point: Over my six election campaigns for MPP, my competitors and I would realize our dozens of area all-candidates nights had little relevance for public opinion in the face of a nightly barrage of high-priced television commercials. It’s time to curb third-party special interest advertising.

Big money from companies, unions and individuals can sway elections – both provincially and at the riding level. And big money also buys favoritism and alters decision-making by those in power – particularly those beholden to donors and lobbyists and other special interests.

Many feel the system has become broken and open to corruption at the hands of shadow organizations, power-hungry bagmen and backroom boys. Someone dependent on big money to win and stay in office has no real power – it’s been handed over to their benefactors.

The solution lies in enhancing the power and the financial independence of politicians by taking the big money out of the process, thus curtailing the lobbyist and shrinking the influence of special interests.

As an elected representative, my job is to represent those who elected me, plus everyone else among the 110,000 constituents of the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. As MPP, I swear allegiance to the Queen. I’m a member of the Ontario PC Party. I have no need for special advisors or a cadre of backroom boys to pay for my elections.

Integrity is the foundation of trust with the people of Ontario, and the people of Ontario have lost trust in this government – a government that is merely talking about changing the rules because it looks like they got caught. A full investigation is required.

Newsroom

Electricity rates going up again

SIMCOE- Electricity rates are on the rise again.

[Read More]

 

Government collusion with big money a threat to democracy: Barrett

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP weighed in on the Ontario government’s high-priced private fundraisers during debate in the Ontario Legislature this week.

[Read More]

 

Barrett: Budget hinders agri-business

SIMCOE – Opposition agriculture critic and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett again highlighted the impact of cuts to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs during debate in the Ontario Legislature.

[Read More]

 

Government collusion with big money a threat to democracy: Barrett

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP weighed in on the Ontario government’s high-priced private fundraisers during debate in the Ontario Legislature this week.

[Read More]

 

Barrett: Budget hinders agri-business

SIMCOE – Opposition agriculture critic and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett again highlighted the impact of cuts to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs during debate in the Ontario Legislature.

[Read More]


Barrett questions easements in Bill 100 Trails Act

QUEEN’S PARK – Following concerns raised by constituents in regard to Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2016, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett raised concerns about the legislation in the Ontario Legislature.

[Read More]

 

Barrett bill on organized crime voted down

COURTLAND – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett’s Private Member’s Bill The Ontario Commission of Inquiry into the Black Market Trade and Trafficking of People, Drugs, Money, Tobacco and Weapons Act, 2016 was voted down by the Liberal majority on Thursday, March 24.

[Read More]


Barrett questions cuts to ministry supporting province’s top industry

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic to the Minsitry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs questioned why the government cut $28 million from the budget of the ministry supporting the province’s top industry..

[Read More]

 

Barrett speaks of budget impact on business and agriculture

QUEEN’S PARK – The impacts of the provincial government’s financial policies are hurting rural Ontario, and this will only be magnified in the recent provincial budget, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett told the Ontario Legislature..

[Read More]

 

Barrett bill to address black market

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has proposed legislation to address trafficking and the black market trade. .

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Barrett speaks to the importance of farm safety

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s Opposition Critic to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs highlighted some of the old dangers – and some new ones – during a recent speech in the Ontario Legislature to highlight Canadian Agricultural Safety Week..

[Read More]

 

$28 million budget cut ignores the value of agriculture: Barrett

QUEEN’S PARK – Toby Barrett, Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP, spoke of the value of agriculture while supporting Agriculture Literacy Week.

[Read More]


‘What ag programs will be eliminated?’
Barrett questions ag minister on budget

QUEEN’S PARK – Opposition Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Critic and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett challenged the minister on cuts to the ag budget and how that will impact agri-business.

[Read More]

 

Where is the help for farmers in the budget: Barrett

QUEEN’S PARK – Farmers may not find much to crow about in today’s budget, according to Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett, Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

[Read More]

 

Barrett calls out Premier on new gas tax

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett took Premier Kathleen Wynne to task for breaking her promise to not bring in a new gas tax.

[Read More]

 

Government cuts wound Ontario’s patients

QUEEN’S PARK – Money that should be invested in front-line health care is being spent on things like cancelled gas plants.

[Read More]

 

Barrett introduces legislation for inquiry into trafficking and black market

QUEEN’S PARK – Worried about the black market in his riding and across the province, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has introduced a Private Member’s Bill titled Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Trade and Trafficking of People, Drugs, Money, Tobacco and Weapons Act, 2016.

[Read More]

 

New energy saving program not for everyone: Barrett

PORT DOVER – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett says the recently-announced Ontario government energy savings program is a good concept, but he charges the program favours only those who heat with natural gas and are customers of two large suppliers.

[Read More]


Preventative approach on Lyme Disease highlighted
WINDSOR – Preventative and proactive measures are key to taking the bite out of Lyme Disease.
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ALUS testifies before Finance Committee
HAMILTON – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett welcomed a presentation by Bryan Gilvesy, Executive Director of Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) Canada, during today’s pre-budget hearings before the Finance Committee.
[Read More]

 

Barrett calls for re-evaluation of neonic ban
CALEDONIA – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is calling on Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal to re-evaluate the pending ban on neonicotinoid insecticides.
[Read More]

 

Accountability needed in premier’s office after OPP charges against Liberal operatives
THUNDER BAY – Today, the Ontario Provincial Police announced they have laid breach of trust and mischief charges against David Livingston, former Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Chief of Staff, and Laura Miller, former Deputy Chief of Staff, following the completion of an almost two year investigation.
[Read More]

 

Barrett wants action on black market trade
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett will introduce legislation to strike a commission to investigate Ontario’s illegal trafficking of tobacco, drugs, money people and weapons.
[Read More]

 

Barrett and PCs score victory for Ontario homeowners
Queen’s Park – The Ontario Government has reversed its decision on extending the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) which would have seen homebuyers slapped with a $10,000 bill due at closing on the average home sold in Ontario.
[Read More]


Enforcement of legislation cannot be on racial lines

Queen’s Park – In speaking to Bill 113, the Police Record Checks Reform Act, local MPP Toby Barrett warned that although he supports the bill he trusts it will be enforced fairly and equally, using Caledonia as an example where laws were not enforced to their original intent.
[Read More]

 

Barrett proposes Commission of Inquiry into trafficking of tobacco, other drugs, humans, weapons…
Queen’s Park – “The province of Ontario is now being viewed, essentially, as an illegal drug pusher, and it’s coming right out of just west of Toronto, in this part of southern Ontario,” Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has told the Ontario Legislature.
[Read More]


Barrett calls on government to support families of fallen first responders

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Toby Barrett supported the call for establishing a fund to support the families of first responders, such as firefighters, police officers and paramedics, who are killed in the line of duty.
[Read More]

 

Construction resumes on Cayuga bridge
CAYUGA – Construction has resumed on the Highway 3 Cayuga bridge replacement today.
[Read More]


Barrett doesn’t get answers to “Power Line to Nowhere” question

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett was dragged into the ongoing “blame game” at Queen’s Park as he tried to find answers to when the power line that terminates in Caledonia will be finished.
[Read More]

 

‘Power line to nowhere’ costing taxpayers millions

QUEEN’S PARK – In Caledonia, an unfinished power line stands as a symbol of unresolved conflict as it continues to cost taxpayers millions of dollars in wasted money.
[Read More]

 

Municipal Land Transfer Tax will hurt home buyers

PORT DOVER – The provincial government plan to give municipalities the power to levy a Municipal Land Transfer Tax will hurt the average Ontario resident looking to buy a home.
[Read More]

 

Government votes to continue Death Tax

SIMCOE – The Liberal Government have voted down Leader of the Official Opposition Patrick Brown’s Private Member’s Bill, the Estate Administration Tax Abolition Act, which proposed the elimination of the so-called Death Tax.
[Read More]


Stalemate continues with bridges in Haldimand County

QUEEN’S PARK – It’s been a year since work stopped on the Provincial Highway 3 bridge in Cayuga due to protests from Confederacy Chiefs and their Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI). Today, local MPP Toby Barrett questioned the government what the plan is to finish this project.
[Read More]


FAO Report Confirms Hydro One Fire Sale a Bad Deal for Ontarians
QUEEN’S PARK – The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) confirmed the sale of Hydro One will be a scary scenario for Ontario residents.
[Read More]

 

‘Half Your Plate’ promotes fruit and vegetables
QUEEN’S PARK – Promoting healthy choices is not only good for the health of Ontarians, but also good for the economic health of farmers.
[Read More]


Barrett wants Auditor General to ‘follow the money’ on Liberals’ bargaining payouts
QUEEN’S PARK –MPP Toby Barrett is joining his MPP colleagues in questioning why the government finds $2.5 million to pay out to teachers’ unions, instead of spending it in the classroom.
[Read More]


Barrett takes Leal to task on Hydro One sale
QUEEN’S PARK – The question of who is standing up for farmers at the Cabinet table in regards to the sale of Hydro One remains unanswered.
[Read More]


Barrett queries Ontario government on U.S. Steel Canada

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett sounded the alarm about the immediate threat of pension and benefit losses facing U.S. Steel Canada pensioners. After hearing from a number of constituents at the Norfolk County Fair, Barrett raised this during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature this morning.
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Barrett fears Nov. 1 hydro rate hike will force more to ‘heat or eat’
SIMCOE – The news of yet another unaffordable increase in electricity rates as a result of failed energy policies was met with disapproval from MPP Toby Barrett.
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Government’s Great Lakes Act won’t protect environment: Barrett
SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is disappointed the government has passed a flawed bill intended on helping the Great Lakes. Rather than working with the Opposition to protect the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin, the bill was rammed through with debate cut off.
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Hydro One executive salaries soar while Ontarians struggle with paying power bills
QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period this week, Opposition Leader Patrick Brown asked Premier Wynne why her government is paying Hydro One executives lavish salaries, while average Ontario families cannot afford to pay their electricity bills.
[Read More]

 

Ontario’s home and community care sector is failing patients
QUEEN'S PARK - Last week, the Auditor General of Ontario released her report on the financial operations and service delivery of the 14 Community Care Access Centre’s (CCAC’s) in Ontario.  The report stresses that the provincial government must take urgent action to address the poor state of the home and community care sector in Ontario. 
[Read More]

 

Bees to be covered by agriculture insurance
QUEEN’S PARK – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, welcomed today’s announcement that the government would cover bees under agriculture insurance. The concept was put forward by the Official Opposition as an amendment to the The Agriculture Insurance Act.
[Read More]

 


Cayuga bridge fiasco raised again at Queen’s Park

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Toby Barrett continues to question when construction will resume on the Cayuga bridge.
[Read More]


Neonics: Who is standing up for farming?
QUEEN’S PARK – Who is standing up for farming at the Cabinet table?
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Barrett appointed Caucus Chair; reappointed Agriculture Critic
SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has been appointed Caucus Chair and reappointed as agriculture critic by incoming Opposition Leader Patrick Brown.
[Read More]