Elections Ontario head calls for limits to advertising by interest groups

Noting that such “third-party” advertising tripled to $6.7 million between the 2007 and 2011 provincial elections, Greg Essensa said in his annual report that the legislature needs to set up an independent body to study a cap on spending and contributions, among other things, reported Metro April 8….A report during the 2011 election from York University politics Professor Robert MacDermid found the Liberals, then headed by former premier Dalton McGuinty, were beneficiaries of “loose” campaign finance rules, allowing unlimited third-party ads that make a mockery of spending limits on political parties. At the time, McGuinty said he didn’t believe unlimited spending by third-party groups was unfair, telling reporters “We’ve got a great system here.” Read full story.

Taking on big pharma: Health activists meet on Capitol Hill
“Allen Jones couldn’t stand by and let the government officials he worked for recommend expensive and possibly unsafe drugs for mental health patients so that they could get kickbacks from the pharmaceutical industry,” wrote York University PhD candidate Kelly Holloway in Rabble.ca April 8. “Jones, who was an investigator at the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General, found that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceutical paid honoraria to key state officials who held influence over drugs prescribed in state-run prisons and mental hospitals.” Read full story.

The future of the university? Tell me about it…
“Universities are already pouring money into external communication, it’s just that quite a bit of it involves marketing to audiences including alumni, donors of various kinds, governments and potential students – in other words, groups [that] will bring revenue,” wrote York University PhD candidate Melonie Fullick in University Affairs April 8. “This is partly why internal communication receives less attention. It’s also why there is so often a blurring of advertising and information, which makes things more difficult for students who are trying to make the best possible decisions with the information available.” Read full story.