BC FORUM News from the Advocate, Spring 2017
Follow the money
• In the last 10 years, corporations gave more than $30 million to the BC Liberals
• In the last 6 years, the BC Liberals gave $300,000 to Christy Clark
The New York Times calls B.C. the “wild west” of political cash in North America. When you think about it, however, what’s happening here is more like a banana republic where politicians use their position to enrich themselves. It’s an embarrassment to everyone, except, apparently, Christy Clark.
For six years, wealthy individuals and large corporations – including foreign energy conglomerates – have seen a portion of their contributions go directly into the pocket of the Premier of British Columbia. How can this be described as anything other than influence peddling? How can we believe she’s working for us when she’s personally being paid by them?
Only after intense criticism, and with the possibility of it being an election issue, did Clark suspend the $50,000 a year “stipend” which topped up her $195,000 a year salary. Perhaps her pockets are full enough.
RCMP steps in
Elections BC has asked the RCMP to investigate reports by the Globe and Mail that lobbyists are illegally funneling even more corporate cash to Christy Clark’s party.
These lobbyists allegedly made contributions in their own name and were subsequently reimbursed by their clients. Our weak Elections Act does not prevent foreign corporations from using their cash to try to influence our elections, but it does insist that they do so in their own name.
“British Columbia’s governing Liberal Party routinely accepts significant donations from foreign interests – a practice that is banned in many other Canadian jurisdictions,” reported the Globe and Mail. “The party’s overflowing campaign war chest includes cash from offshore oil and gas companies, European pharmaceutical companies and Beijing investment firms.”
Ban big money
I’m extremely proud to be a British Columbian, but I’m embarrassed by our premier,” says NDP Leader John Horgan. “A tiny number of millionaires have our premier in their pocket. It has to end.”
With no limits on political donations, just 1.5 per cent of donors contributed half of the $12 million raised by the B.C. Liberals last year.
“Millionaires gave big to Christy Clark, and she promptly turned around and gave those same millionaires a billion dollar tax break, paid for by hiking ICBC and Hydro costs for regular British Columbians.”
Because governments must work for people, not big money, Horgan says an NDP government will ban corporate and union donations.