Quebec party $100 donation limit comes into effect

Today the Parti Québécois' efforts to curb corruption come to fruition as a $100 limit on donations to political parties comes into effect.

New measures are part of the PQ's attempt to fight political corruption

A new $100 annual limit for political party donations is a signifiant reduction compared to the previous $1,000 limit. (CBC)

Today the Parti Québécois' efforts to curb corruption come to fruition as a $100 per year limit on donations to provincial political parties comes into effect.

The donation limit falls under Bill 2, which was tabled by Quebec's minority government in November as an attempt to curb political corruption.

Until now, individual donations to parties were capped at $1,000. As of Jan. 1, voters can give a maximum of $100 to a provincial party in one year. The only exception is during a general election or by-election, when individual voters are permitted to donate an additional $100.

At the time of its introduction, the proposed limit faced criticism from the Liberal and Québec Solidaire parties, who were concerned the $100 cap would be too low.

Bernard Drainville, minister for democratic institutions, tabled the bill in November. He said the model should prevent so-called "straw man donations" by companies, while simultaneously increasing public funding for established parties.

"If you have good support in the population, you should be able to get donations from the population. It's a type of prime for parties," Drainville said in November.

In 2012, two Charbonneau Commission witnesses testified to an entrenched system of kickbacks and collusion in the awarding of city and provincial construction contracts.

Drainville said that he was floored by those admissions, and that he had hopes of hashing out possible ways to reform municipal political financing.

Public funding increases

The public financing of political parties will increase to compensate for the new limitations.

The Quebec director-general of elections will pay an additional $2.50 for each dollar contributed to a party up to $20,000 in contributions. The province will pay out $1 for each dollar raised up to an annual amount of $200,000 to each party.

The PQ has said that this new way of financing will open the doors for political parties who have not yet participated in an election and, therefore, are not entitled to an annual allowance from the director-general of elections.

The law makes an allowance for an extra $100 donation during a general or partial election period, in addition to the $100 donation limit.

The changes also include an increase in the annual allowance paid to political parties, based on the number of registered voters. Parties will receive $1.50 for each elector listed in the last general election (up from $0.82).

Bill 2 - An act to amend the Election Act