B.C. bans big money from influencing campaigns to recall MLAs

The province is introducing new laws that would ban corporations and unions from making donations during campaigns to recall MLAs from the legislative assembly.

Attorney general says this will make petitions to recall MLAs more fair

Attorney General David Eby says the changes to recall campaigns follow amendments to the Elections Act implemented by the NDP last year. (Mike Mcarthur/CBC)

The province is introducing new laws that would ban corporations and unions from making donations during campaigns to recall MLAs.

Attorney General David Eby said in a statement that the legislation will make recall campaigns more fair and aligns them with the changes implemented to elections financing by the NDP.

"Recall campaigns have the potential of removing people from elected office, and it's only fair that the rules for elections apply to recall campaigns as well."

The Recall and Initiative Act allows individual voters to start petitions for the recall of an MLA and gives them 60 days to collect signatures and submit them for verification.

The amendment to the act introduced today matches the changes made to the Election Act and include:

  • Banning corporate and union contributions.
  • Limiting individual contributions to $1,200 per year.
  • Limiting third-party advertisers' spending to $5,000 during a recall petition period.

The $1,200 limit also applies to political contributions to MLAs meaning that the sum of British Columbians' donations for election campaigns and recall petitions cannot exceed $1,200 per year.

Currently, there are no restrictions on contributions to the recall proponents, MLAs or third-party advertising sponsors. During a petition period, there are spending limits on proponents and MLAs but not on advertising sponsors.