On political donations, TD Bank breaks ranks
SINCLAIR STEWART AND PAUL WALDIE, From Monday's Globe and Mail
Ten of the most senior officials at Toronto-Dominion Bank, including chief executive officer Ed Clark, met just weeks before the last federal election and agreed to make nearly $100,000 worth of personal contributions to the Liberal and Conservative parties, according to recently filed documents with Elections Canada.
This is believed to be the first time since 2004, when the federal government overhauled its political contribution rules, that one company's executive team has made such a concerted effort to donate money as a group.
The new rules prohibit companies from giving money to political parties, and were designed to ward off the possibility of influence-peddling. TD's actions, however, have sparked concern companies may be able to bypass new rules by organizing donations from employees.
Only two of these TD officials had previously donated to a political party, according to election records, but their collective contribution this year was nearly double what the entire bank gave in 2003, the last year companies were allowed to make donations...
Although [CEO] Mr. Clark stressed that this was a non-partisan exercise, his group only backed the two most powerful parties. He conceded that there may have been some people amongst his executive team that would have liked to support the New Democratic Party...
Mr. Clark said he was not concerned by the optics, much less by the fact that other bank CEOs have not made similar efforts....
Doesn't this constitute collusion, which is against the new Canada Elections Act?