British Columbia

B.C. NDP set to introduce legislation banning corporate donations for 6th time

The B.C. NDP will introduce legislation for the sixth time in the upcoming legislative session that would ban corporate and union donations for political parties in British Columbia.

Proposed ban would also include union donations

NDP leader John Horgan stands behind the 6 different pieces of legislation put together by his party to ban political corporate and union donations. (Richard Zussman/CBC News)

The B.C. NDP will introduce legislation for the sixth time in the upcoming legislative session that would ban corporate and union donations for political parties in British Columbia.

But until formal rules are in place it will continue to accept all donations.

"If I were premier today, there would be no union and corporate donations. Christy Clark could change that," said Horgan. "We have led by example by introducing legislation."

The legislation has been voted down the five previous times it was put forward by the NDP.

If the ban comes into effect, Horgan would ask Elections BC to look into alternative ways for political parties to be financed. When asked if he is in favour of public money being allocated, he said he has "no opinion" on publicly-funded political parties.

The B.C. NDP have not released fund raising numbers from 2016 but says it is less than the $12.5 million the B.C. Liberals have reported they raised last year.

Horgan was also critical of who was donating to the B.C. Liberals. According to an analysis done by the NDP, more than half of the B.C. Liberals donations, around $6 million, was raised from 185 donors.

Liberals not in favour of union and corporate donation ban

The Liberals will not be voting to ban corporate or union donations, instead, the party is in favour of more frequent reporting.

The Liberals have promised to disclose donations every two weeks after facing stiff criticism over $10,000-a-plate private fundraisers with Premier Christy Clark and Clark's $50,000-a-year stipend paid for by the party.

"We are in favour of public transparency in the funding of elections. Political parties are a necessary part of our political system and they need to raise money," said Liberal cabinet minister Andrew Wilkinson. "We favour a system where there is a complete disclosure on an urgent, frequent basis."

Political parties are not required to disclose donations. Elections BC is expected to post all donations from 2016 before the May 9 provincial election. 

B.C. Green party not accepting union and corporate donations

The B.C. Green Party also preemptively released 2016 donation totals. The party raised $763,667, a 93 per cent increase over its 2015 revenue.

Party leader Andrew Weaver did not accept any corporate or union donations and has also called for a ban on the practice. He says if Horgan was really serious about getting 'big money' out of politics, he would stop accepting those donations now.

"Leaders lead. They walk the talk, even when it's difficult," said Weaver in a statement.

"The B.C. Liberals are just laughing it off, while the B.C. NDP will only do something about it if they win the election. In the meantime, both of them will accept the same potentially corrupting money that is making B.C. the wild west of politics, even by American standards."


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