Premier Doug Ford has yet to to issue a formal statement on the matter, but the Ontario PC party are expressing their regret for sending out fundraising letters made to look like invoices.
Opposition parties expressed their outrage yesterday after the letters made their way to the mailboxes of Ontario residents.
The letters, made out to look like a standard bill and requesting anywhere from $300 to $1000, arrived to a number of confused Ontario residents with former or current ties to the Conservative party on Tuesday.
Discussion online has many assuming the difference in amounts requested has been based on postal code with higher invoices being sent to traditionally higher income locations, though that has not been confirmed.
There is also worry that the misleading nature of the letter is aimed to take advantage of the most vulnerable, like seniors and those with lower English speaking skills.
In a statement to media, the Liberal party say “the misleading document, which includes the word ‘invoice’ in large text at the top, is similar to those used in ‘false billing scams’ that aim to defraud vulnerable individuals.”
The party added that they would be formally requesting an investigation through Elections Ontario and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, supported by both the Ontario NDPs and Green Party.
The letter included with the invoice, signed off on by the Chair of the Ontario PC Fund Tony Miele, included statements (bolded, as they are in the letter) like the following:
“The bottom line is you don’t win elections without a well-stocked campaign war-chest. Doug Ford and your Ontario PC team rely on your generous donations to our Election Readiness Fund in preparation for the coming 2022 provincial election.“
The word “donation” also doesn’t appear until near the bottom of the page.
Miele confirmed in an interview with Global News that the company responsible for the letters was Responsive Marketing Group (RMG), but would not reveal who approved them.
The party apologized in a statement saying it was “not their intention to mislead our valued supporters” and assuring that it won’t happen again, but made no mention of returning funds to anyone who may have sent them out of confusion.