Premier John Horgan speaks to a rally at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver during the 2017 election campaign, in which the NDP made no mention of a public subsidy. (Black Press files)

UPDATE: NDP caps party donations at $1,200 per person

Public subsidy of $2.50 per vote would pay NDP, B.C. Liberals almost $2 million each next year

Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby began delivering on their often-promised restrictions on donations to political parties Monday, with the surprise move to replace the money with millions in public subsidies for parties.

Eby introduced a bill in the legislature that limits individual donations to $1,200 a year, the second-lowest limit in Canada, and bans union and corporate donations. Any prohibited donations collected since the May 2017 election can’t be used in a future election.

The legislation also includes a “transitional annual allowance” for political parties with a minimum number of votes, amounting to $2.50 per vote received next year. That amount diminishes to $2.25 per vote in 2019, $2 in 2020 and and $1.75 in 2021 and 2022.

The allowance would pay the NDP $1.9 million in 2018 alone, with diminishing amounts in the next four years. The B.C. Liberals would make a similar amount based on the 2017 vote count, and the B.C. Greens would get $830,000 in 2018 with more in future years.

Premier John Horgan specifically ruled out using public money to replace corporate and union donations in the months before the May election campaign began. Horgan and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver congratulated each other for the new legislation at a media briefing at the legislature Monday, and left without taking questions.

Eby took questions, saying the provision to forbid parties from using money raised since May of this year was one consideration in reversing NDP policy and bringing in the public subsidy. He said parties can’t use prohibited donations for advertising or other election expenses during the formal 28-day election campaign period, but they can use it to pay down debt, pay staff, buy property or other expenses not directly related to election campaigns.

B.C. Liberal critic Andrew Wilkinson said his party will vote against the per-vote subsidy, which he expects to pass with NDP and Green support. “It’s pretty clear the NDP and Greens have cut a deal” to benefit their parties, Wilkinson said.

“A special committee of the legislature will review the allowance to determine if it should be continued,” Eby said in a statement. “If no action is taken, the allowance will expire in 2022.”

Asked if local governments would be included in the new rules, as the previous government had proposed, Eby said “We are still working on that.”

The B.C. Liberals re-introduced their own proposal last week, including a $5,000 cap on annual personal donations and no public subsidy.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

UPDATED: Eco warriors shut down Douglas Street at Fort Street in protest

Environmentalists to call on banks to divert investments into green infrastructure

Award-winning Victoria author recalls her former life as a sex trade worker in new memoir

Yasuko Thanh’s new book ‘Mistakes to Run With’ is her first non-fiction publication

VOS transforms the McPherson into a swamp for Shrek The Musical

Victoria Operatic Society’s musical theatre production appeals to all ages

Human Rights museum hosts Coast Salish artist’s Witness Blanket

Artwork heads to Winnipeg after five years on the road

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 staws each year

Ex-mayor of northern village claims its drivers are overpaying ICBC $1,800 a year

Darcy Repen says data shows Telkwa households are being ripped off for car insurance

Most Read