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

Parksville man arrested in relation to Mercedes, motorcycle fight

RCMP recommend assault charge for man driving Mercedes

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

BC lawn bowlers clinch national pairs title

Despite rain, QB club calls Canadian event a success

Guitarist explores beyond borders of genre, countries, music, coming to Qualicum Beach

Globetrotting Jesse Cook touring Island, performing in Qualicum Beach Sept. 27

RDN offers activities on Active Aging Week

The Regional District of Nanaimo will again offer a myriad of activites… Continue reading

Bear makes midnight front porch visit in Campbell River

A black bear paid a Campbell River family a midnight visit last… Continue reading

B.C. councillor’s expenses being sent to the RCMP

Decision to have expenses audited and shared with RCMP taken at special meeting of council

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Highway 19 paving between Parksville and Courtenay

Delays in both directions beginning Sept. 25

Legal society poster seeks complainants against two cops on Downtown Eastside

Pivot Legal Society became aware of allegations made against the officers after a video circulated

Jury to deliberate in case of Calgary man accused of murdering woman

Curtis Healy could be convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter

House arrest for man who abused disabled B.C. woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

Liberals want to know what Canadians think of legalized weed

The federal government will comb social media for Canadians’ pot-related behaviour

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen boasts of aiding Mueller investigation

Cohen could provide information on whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russians

Most Read