Suppose you're worried about undue corporate influence on politics because of corporate donations. So you ban it. Here's the Winnipeg Free Press on a lovely Quebec case study.
It has been illegal since the 1970s for companies to make political donations in Quebec...Suppose there's still demand among political parties for donations though. What do you do? You tell your employees to make personal donations and you reimburse them for it. Maybe you have their whole families do it up to the personal donation limit, as in a fun Ontario case. And that's what happened in Quebec too:
What do you do then?
...the law was tightened in 2010 to crack down on companies that reimbursed people for making endorsements.SNC-Lavalin notes that their practice was entirely in keeping with the letter of the law prior to 2010. And I would be surprised if there weren't other workarounds for the post-2010 period.
Why is it legal for political parties to have fundraising targets from corporates that are forbidden from making donations?
Of course the companies will find some workaround where they're highly dependent on government contracts and where they're being leaned on for donations. A few options that could still be legal, depending on how the Quebec laws are written:
- Hire a Party official as consultant on inflated salary; the official or the official's spouse donates to the Party.
- Rent property owned by the Party at inflated prices.
- Subscribe to a Party newsletter at a high subscription fee.
- Host Party events on corporate property for low/no rent.
- Pay very high speakers' fees to have party officials give breakfast or luncheon addresses for your staff.
- Have staffers work the parties' election campaigns as volunteers while still on the corporate payroll.
Or at least those are a few things that occurred to me within half a minute. Surely sharper folks than me with more at stake could come up with better ones.