Ontario’s top labour leader, Wayne Samuelson, thinks the unions who support him, and the corporations who employ his members, should both be barred from giving money to municipal politicians.

Developer Robert Eisenberg agrees.

Both showed up at Toronto City Hall yesterday to ask city council to support a ban on corporate and union donations in the 2010 municipal election, a proposal that is to be debated at a special meeting Dec. 2.

Other cities across the country will be pressured to follow if Toronto sets an example, they and their supporters argued.

The development industry won’t stand in the way of a ban on corporate donations, says Stephen Dupuis, who heads the Building Industry and Land Development Association, which represents property developers.

He says politicians relentlessly pursue developers for campaign money.

“It’s not that developers are pushing money out the door,” Dupuis said in an interview. “It’s dealing with relentless requests (from politicians).

“I don’t think the development community would care if there was a rule that said they couldn’t contribute.”

Samuelson and Eisenberg pointed to a study by York University Professor Robert MacDermid that found that municipal elections across Greater Toronto are largely financed by corporations, many of them developers.

The pattern isn’t consistent: In Toronto, corporate donations made up only 12 per cent of total contributions for council candidates.

In Pickering, by contrast, 77 per cent of contributions came from corporations, and in Vaughan, 63 per cent.