British Columbia

New B.C. legislation won't restrict union and corporate political donations

The provincial government's long awaited legislation on political donations will not include restrictions on union and corporate donations.

Provincial government to introduce legislation Monday with focus on 'real time' tracking

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark says new legislation into campaign reform will not include a ban on union and corporate donations. (Daryl Dick/The Canadian Press)

The provincial government's long awaited legislation on political donations will not include restrictions on union and corporate donations.

The B.C. government is set to introduce legislation Monday that will require political parties to post online political donations received every few weeks. The B.C. Liberal Party began voluntarily posting donations on the party's website at the beginning of 2017.

"That is what you will see in the bill. Essentially the things we have talked about already. Things that we are already doing in the B.C. Liberal Party," said Clark. 

Liberals against publicly funded system

The provincial government has been facing questions for the past year about 'cash for access'  fundraisers that provide donors the opportunity to have face time with Premier Christy Clark.

Elections BC also announced this week an investigation into lobbyist donors who contribute individually to a political party and then are reimbursed by a client. This practice is against the B.C. Election Act.

Clark acknowledged the donation process can be improved, but believes a donor system is better than a publicly funded system.

"While the system we have is not perfect and there are lots of things we can and should do to fix it,' said Clark, "a worse system would be one where the money is not given freely and people are forced to support political parties through their taxes."

The B.C. NDP has introduced legislation that would ban union and corporate donations. Until such legislation passes into law, the NDP says it will continue to accept union and corporate donations. 

"People don't want to know in real time how their government is being bought by big money and lobbyists," said NDP MLA David Eby. "What they want is an end to this system where you can make an unlimited amount of donations from anywhere in the world."

The B.C. Green party does not accept union and corporate donations and says it would ban the practice if elected.

Concerns raised about Kinder Morgan donations

Environmental advocacy group, the Dogwood Initiative, released information Thursday that four individuals associated with Kinder Morgan made donations to the B.C. Liberals.

The list includes $7,300 in donations from Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson. The B.C. government has supported the federal government's decision to 'green light' twinning of the pipeline. 

Elections BC is now looking into these donations.

Officials with Elections BC are reviewing a series of political donations by individuals connected to the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline and oil tanker expansion, after receiving a formal complaint.