Premier Christy Clark takes cabinet oath from Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon last week, along with 21 ministers. (TOM FLETCHER/BLACK PRESS)

Skookum bucks for B.C. Liberals

Wait until you see Christy Clark’s next money move

Financial contributions continue to pour into the B.C. Liberal Party, documented by its voluntary “real-time” disclosure that started in January and abruptly stopped at the end of May.

This has continued after the election where the B.C. Liberals lost their majority and set the stage for the “GreeNDP” rebel alliance. Now the Imperial dynasty is assembling a veritable Death Star of campaign cash.

Their last disclosure report was filed June 2 and runs 13 pages. It shows the prospect of another taste of NDP government isn’t hurting the B.C. Liberals’ bottom line.

Most of the more than 500 donations for the last week of May are from individuals, $25 here, $200 there. A few big ones jump out, such as $19,500 from Anthem Properties Group, $20,000 from Burnaby real estate lawyer Garth Evans, and $30,000 from Vancouver developer Holborn Holdings.

There’s $13,700 from the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, representing companies that mostly employ members of the Christian Labour Association of Canada. That’s the discount construction union that made a B.C. breakthrough with a hefty share of work on the Site C dam.

IATSE Local 891, the B.C. local of the international union representing movie and theatre artists and technicians, cut a cheque for $5,000 to Team Christy Clark. Other than the Steelworkers, who covered the payroll for the NDP election campaign, private sector unions have been drifting away from their historical home.

It was a good week for the B.C. Liberals with forest companies. The Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association gave $5,000, Skookumchuck Pulp Inc. pitched in $20,000, and Western Forest Products tied for the week’s biggest donation with $30,000.

Skookumchuck, north of Cranbrook, is now a division of Paper Excellence, the Indonesian-owned private corporation that bought the mill from Tembec in 2013. Paper Excellence also resurrected the pulp mill in Mackenzie and owns Howe Sound Pulp and Paper.

This impressive donation pace is one motivation for the B.C. Liberals to use delaying tactics in the legislature session that begins this week. The pitch is simple: the socialist hordes are once again at the gates, to borrow a phrase from the legendary premier W.A.C. Bennett. Only this time it’s socialism with solar panels, and the B.C. Green spending plan makes the NDP look like cheapskates.

It’s a rumour-heavy environment in the legislature these days, and here’s one of the wilder ones I’ve heard.

Clark’s throne speech is to be presented Thursday, after the much-anticipated election of a B.C. Liberal MLA as speaker. The speech will no doubt emphasize the B.C. Liberal plan to reduce Medical Services Plan premiums, which was adopted by the NDP for the election campaign and is consistent with Green leader Andrew Weaver’s idea to shift the burden to personal income tax.

The political game is to make it as awkward as possible for the NDP and Greens to vote against it. And this tactic could go further.

The B.C. Liberals can delay the crucial vote on the speech by introducing legislation, and forcing debate on that instead. They could do this multiple times.

And what legislation would be most difficult for the opposition parties to oppose? A bill to eliminate corporate and union donations. That would also be the first to be presented by a new NDP government, as it was by NDP Premier Rachel Notley in Alberta.

Could the B.C. Liberals possibly be so hypocritical as to bank another $10 million or so and then make a show of calling a halt to the corporate cash machine? Wait and see.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

Just Posted

New, feature-length documentary on missing woman Emma Fillipoff comes out next year

The film follows Fillipoff’s disappearance and the ongoing investigation

Victoria Police Department seeks provincial budget review for second year in a row

VicPD hopes to see four more staff positions after request was denied in the 2019 budget

Harbour authority to honour Victoria sailor Jeanne Socrates with naming ceremony

In September Socrates became the oldest person to sail around the world in a solo, unassisted trip

Escaped Metchosin inmate sentenced to additional year tacked on to 14-year sentence

Man escaped from William Head Institution arrested days later in Esquimalt

VIDEO: The sticky truth about winter moths and how Greater Victoria arborists fight them

Winter moths have ‘killed a lot of trees’ across the region, says Oak Bay arborist

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

EDITORIAL: It’s time to face the truth on drug use

The homeless don’t own the drug epidemic

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Most Read