PC Leader Brian Pallister wants to change political donation rules

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says if he wins the April 19 election, he would look at changing the rules governing political donations.

Pallister says he would consult other political parties before making amendments

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says if elected, he will change political party funding rules. (CBC)

Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says if he wins the April 19 election, he would look at changing the rules governing political donations.

Pallister says the law governing election financing needs to be updated, and he would consult other political parties before making amendments.

The Tory leader has already promised one specific change — to eliminate a subsidy that parties get based on the number of votes they received in recent elections.

The Tories have refused to take the money, while the NDP have garnered more than a quarter-million dollars a year over the past decade.

As for other changes, Pallister said they could involve raising the $3,000 limit on personal donations or amending the rules on advertising by interest groups.

NDP Leader Greg Selinger said the current rules ensure elections are not controlled by big-money interests.

He accuses Pallister of planning to reinstate corporate and union donations, which the NDP banned more than a decade ago.

Pallister said that change is not in his plans.

Change gives advantage to wealthy: NDP

NDP MLA Sharon Blady said if Pallister's proposed changes go through, they would give wealthy Manitobans disproportionate influence over political parties in Manitoba.

Blady, the MLA for Kirkfield Park, said Pallister has not ruled out raising the amount of money a person can donate to a party.

"The idea that the one per cent, that somebody's wealthy friends can buy democracy … not only is it taking us backwards in terms of policy and going against a democratic process, but it also opens the door to American-style politics," she said.

"The kinds of changes that we've made, it's about levelling the playing field … making sure that democracy stays within the hands of hard-working Manitobans."

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