Reducing money’s political influence

MLA calls for ban on corporate and union donations to political parties

In the last few weeks there has been an outcry on the state of money and politics in this province. More specifically, the controversial fundraiser dinners, the lack of rules around corporate and union donations, the stipend paid to the premier from her party and the benefits received by the leader of the official opposition.

It is absolutely essential that we ban corporate and union donations to political parties in this province. Corporate and union donations, as well as large personal political donations, were all banned nationally in Canada in 2006. Yet in B.C. any person, union or corporation, from anywhere in the world, can donate as much as they’d like any time they want. We simply have no rules. This province is the wild west in terms of its lax rules for political donations.

Obviously this situation raises some major red flags in terms of how money can influence policies and government decisions. I’ve said it before, and I suspect I’ll say it again: Unions don’t vote; corporations don’t vote; only people vote. We need to restore confidence in our elected officials and one of the easiest ways to do that is to remove the perception that money is influencing our elected officials.

A recent poll by the Dogwood Initiative highlights that 86 per cent of British Columbians would support a ban on corporate and union donations before the next election. I fully support this idea and will continue to voice my support for removing all corporate and union donations from B.C.’s electoral system.

However, when it comes to a political leader being paid for partisan work by the party they represent, I don’t have quite the same concerns. I actually think it distracts from the bigger issue.

Present rules allow for a party to pay their leaders, or interim leaders, for the often substantial work they do. This work is more partisan in nature and, in my opinion, should not be getting bank rolled by the taxpayer.

It is those individuals who donate and belong to a political party who are the ones that should hold their party accountable – if they feel that a large leader stipend is unethical, they have the ability to make sure their party changes that policy.

Two weeks ago the conflict-of-interest commissioner ruled that the premier is not in a conflict of interest for receiving the stipend or the fundraisers she has hosted. We cannot let this issue distract us from the very real influence that corporate and union donations are having in B.C.

I have written about this issue more extensively on my website (www.andrewweavermla.ca) and if you have any concerns or questions please email me at andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca.

Andrew Weaver is the MLA for Oak Bay Gordon Head.

 

Just Posted

Shamrocks clinch Western Lacross Association playoff berth

Rick Stiebel/News Staff Although the Victoria Shamrocks nailed down a seat in… Continue reading

Saanich council will consider tax reduction scenarios for 2020 budget

Coun. Rebecca Mersereau however warns of cutting additional funding for capital expenditures

Jurors talk about trial of U.S. man convicted in 1987 murders of Saanich couple

Three jurors offer a window into deliberations during the trial

West Shore RCMP arrest man in stolen vehicle, seize handgun

Vehicle was reported stolen from Duncan on July 18

Victoria Police issue warning after man left dangling from raised Johnson Street Bridge

A man bypassed safety measures and became stranded as the bridge lifted

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Countdown starts to 2020 BC Summer Games

Two flags unveiled at Maple Ridge city hall.

Memorial bench painted by Vancouver woman to stay in park for now

Park board to look at options for artistic enhancements on commemorative benches

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Weather Network’s anti-meat video ‘doesn’t reflect true story’: cattle ranchers

At issue is the video’s suggestion that cutting back on meat consumption could help save the planet

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Wrestling legend finds his wedding dance groove in B.C.

Professional wrestler Chris Jericho posted on social media that he was in Penticton recently

Coroner investigating after body recovered from Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Overdoses overwhelming in B.C. Interior

Part two: Who’s affected by the current opioid crisis

Most Read