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

Bucs sink Generals with late goal in Game 1

Oceanside battles hard and keeps game close versus Nanaimo

VIDEO: Family builds eight-foot igloo in front of Parksville home

Sunday snowfall leads to all-day family activity

Foot found near Victoria belonged to missing Washington man

No foul play suspected in death of Stanley Okumoto, 79

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

Parksville takes aim at rental relief

Council gives go-ahead to 63-unit apartment project

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

Inside the Olympic performance of the Island’s Teal Harle

Islander finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle final in Pyeong Chang

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Qualicum Beach wants to educate people on plastic bag ban

Businesses owners, residents attend open houses

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

Questions raised over B.C. NDP’s childcare budget plan

Advocates concerned how to fill 22,000 new spaces for early childhood educators

B.C. family first to receive reimbursement for life-altering arthritis drug

Effective medication used to treat rare form of juvenile arthritis costs $19,000 a month

Most Read