NDP to ban union, corporate donations

By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver

(left to right) BC NDP candidate David Eby, candidate Jane Shin, BC NDP Leader Adrian, candidate Patti MacAhonic and candidate Matt Toner at election commitment press conference  in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday April 14, 2013. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

(left to right) BC NDP candidate David Eby, candidate Jane Shin, BC NDP Leader Adrian, candidate Patti MacAhonic and candidate Matt Toner at election commitment press conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Sunday April 14, 2013. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)

The 2013 provincial election will be the last one funded with the help of corporate and union donations if the BC New Democrats form government after voters cast ballots next month.

BC NDP leader Adrian Dix, who made the announcement Sunday, said he hoped the ban would boost engagement among average citizens who’ve grown cynical with politics.

“The current system leads to frustration by businesspeople, as well, as they interact with this political process,” he said, adding the potential legislation would be in effect by January 2014.

Instead, political organizations would have to rely on donations from individuals — a move that would put the province’s two major parties on more equal footing when it comes to financing.

The BC Liberals collected about $3 million from average citizens in 2012 compared to the $2.3 million the BC NDP amassed, according to Elections BC.

“Voters understand that this will make things better and we’ll adjust,” Dix said.

But the ban would have a far deeper impact on the coffers of the BC Liberal party, which received about $5 million in corporate donations and just $2,000 from unions last year. The BC NDP received about $1 million from corporations and $2 million from unions in 2012.

IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis, whose non-profit organization promotes electoral reform, said the move would be a big leap forward for democracy.

“This is a demonstration that we’re going to take the big money out of B.C. politics and we’re going to return it the voters of the province.”

The federal Liberal party introduced legislation in 2003 that also banned donations from corporations and unions.

 

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