Ban big money bill

We have several important outcomes that we took to the NDP government to include in the campaign finance reform bill:

  1. Ban on corporate and union donations;
  2. Ensure BC has among the lowest individual contribution limits in the country;
  3. Reduce overall election spending by political parties;
  4. Eliminate loopholes for 3rd-party funding to avoid US-style PACs (political action committees);
  5. Introduce this legislation immediately as one of the first bills tabled in the legislature.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts with us.

Your thoughts
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Suggestions and ideas

BanCorporate and Union contributions

What are we run by, Corporate and Union money or BC residents who are the voters.


we are on the right path with this new legeslation- thanks to the Green influence

A perfect solution to Corporate based parties- thanks for this ground breaking and world changing move- We will see the eco-effect across Canada and the Globe!!! Cheers to the People!


No more bought and paid for governments

Banning Big Money will help level the playing field for elections and "bought and paid for" governments. The current rules for political campaign donations mean corporations can easily control governments.


Fairness, accountability, transparency

A government for the people, funded by the people; not special interests and the wealthy.


In No ones pockets

I think this Bill is very important as it doesn't give one person or corporation to be in the 'pockets' of our government. The government needs to be transparent - not only to be squeaky clean but to be perceived as squeaky clean! Judith


Ban big money bill

I think all those ideas are great, and long overdue. It's even hard to conceive how elections would be run without each big party spending millions of dollars. I would like there to also be some legislation about setting limits on monies spent on advertising in the lead-up to the electoral reform referendum. The Liberals have millions of dollars they could spend on anti-ER advertising, and that needs to be curbed.


Ban on corporate and union donations

I am extremely unhappy with the "transition" funding. It is not the money I object to but the opening for criticism that it provides.


Useing tax dollars under guise of transition plan a joke.

I am extremely happy with our new government removing corporate and union donations however the transition plane funded by tax dollars is a joke I support the Green Party and NDP working together because I do not trust any of our government party's and this way both party's are held more accountable and giving taxpayers money to a party I don't support well people are still suffering with rising housing and livening cost. I wish there were elections every year to insure our government is always held accountable and keeps there promise that led them winning there seats.

Official response
submitted

We appreciate your feedback Evan. I also wondered when I first heard about the allowance, why parties can’t just quit cold turkey. After all - it worked for the BC Greens! It turns out, that approach could actually be really dangerous for our democracy. Other parties rely so heavily on big money that this bill takes away half their income. Any business owner will tell you that losing half your revenue all at once will pretty much put you out of business.

So the way I see it, the per-vote allowance gives all parties a chance to get rid of corporate donations right away, while continuing the essential work they do for democracy in BC - talking to voters, supporting MLAs and developing policy ideas. That’s one of the reasons our BC Green MLAs support the government’s bill.  The most important thing is to get big money out of politics as soon as possible.


Finally some reasonable laws regarding the influence of money

A big step forward in the pursuit of democracy. A big breath of fresh air and something that will be written about in the history books.

Official response
submitted

Thank you Granger! We greatly appreciate your support. 


Democracy Watch : BC Big money Ban

B.C. government’s political finance bill makes key changes – but too-high donation limit means wealthy will still have influence, funneling will happen September 18, 2017 Bradford 0 50-group coalition, and more than 6,000 B.C. voters, call for annual donation and loan limit for individuals (including candidates) of $100 (as in Quebec), stronger enforcement and penalties for violations, and annual per-vote and donation-matching public funding only if parties can prove it’s needed High donation limit will lead to funneling of donations by businesses and unions – as happened in Quebec and at the federal level – and ongoing unethical influence by wealthy donors (in 2015, federal Liberals received almost 23% of their donations from just over 4% of wealthy donors who gave $1,100 or more) Same changes should be made to municipal political finance system across B.C. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, September 18, 2017 OTTAWA - Today, as the B.C. NDP prepare to introduce their political finance bill, Democracy Watch and the Money in Politics Coalition (made up of 50 groups with a total of more than 3 million members), joined by more than 6,000 B.C. voters who have signed a petition on Change.org, called on B.C.’s political parties to make the following changes before the legislature breaks for the upcoming provincial election: ban corporate and union donations, and set an individual donation limit of $100 per year (as in Quebec); set a limit of what candidates can give to their own campaign of $100 per year; prohibit loans to parties except from a public fund; only establish per-vote annual public funding to of at most $1 per vote, and annual donation-matching public funding, if the parties can prove they need it, and; strengthen enforcement and penalties for violations. “While it seems like the B.C. government’s political finance bill will include some key changes, the too-high donation limit will encourage funneling of donations from businesses and unions through their executives and employees and their families, as has happened in Quebec and at the federal level,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch and Chairperson of the Money in Politics Coalition. “The donation limit is much higher than an average B.C. voter can afford, and will allow wealthy people to continue to use money as an unethical way to influence politicians and parties.” Years of experience and scandals in Quebec before 2013, at the federal level since 2007, and in Toronto since 2009, show clearly that setting a donation limit that allows individuals to donate more than $1,000 each year will allow the unethical influence of big money donations, and cash-for-access fundraising schemes, to continue in B.C. “As Quebec, federal and Alberta donation scandals show clearly, the only way to stop the unethical, undemocratic influence of money in B.C. politics is to stop big money donations by allowing only individuals to donate only $100 a year,” said Conacher. Enforcement also needs to be strengthened as Elections B.C. was revealed in the spring to be failing to catch violations that the media has exposed with simple audits, including appointing a special prosecutor to ensure all violators are prosecution in the recent lobbyist-donation scandal. Democracy Watch is also challenging in court the B.C. Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s ruling that no conflicts of interest were caused by B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s high-priced, exclusive fundraising events. The many donation scandals across the country show that low donation limits are the only way to stop the influence of big money. Few have been charged in Quebec’s corruption scandal even though an Elections Quebec audit found $12.8 million in likely illegally funneled donations donations from 2006-2011. To stop the corruption, in 2013 Quebec lowered its individual donation limit to $100 annually to each party, with an additional $100 allowed to be donated to an independent candidate), and required donations to be verified by Elections Quebec before being transferred to parties and candidates. B.C. should make the same democratic changes. At the federal level, SNC-Lavalin illegally funneled almost $118,000 to the Liberal and Conservative parties, riding associations and candidates through its executives and employees from 2004 to 2011. And former-Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s cousin was charged in 2014 with illegally funneling donations through his business’ employees. There are likely many more examples of illegally funneling of donations at the federal level, as it seems Elections Canada has not yet done the full audit it promised to do in 2013. As in Quebec, when Elections Canada has not yet done the full audit it promised to do in 2013 it found dozens of illegal donations. As well, in a 2013 scandal in Alberta, a coalition of construction companies made it clear that Elections Alberta did an audit in 2012 their big money donations were conditional on the Alberta government changing the labour law. As well, the Liberals have been recently caught in a cash-for-access scandal as Prime Minister Trudeau and several Cabinet ministers have attended about 90 high-priced, exclusive events since January 1, 2016. And, as the Globe and Mail reported on October 25th, one of the events was a fundraising event to be attended by the Finance Minister that a drug company executive helped organize while his company lobbied Finance Canada. Democracy Watch filed a complaint about the event with the federal Lobbying Commissioner who is investigating, and also a complaint about another event the same drug company executive organized for Justin Trudeau in August 2015, and a complaint about another event top Liberal donors were invited to in September 2016, as well as a complaint about the Trudeau Cabinet selecting their own ethics and lobbying watchdogs. Most recently, Democracy Watch filed a complaint about a big money fundraising event held by a corporate board member for the Liberals in August 2014. The results of Democracy Watch’s research also show that top federal Liberal Party donors (to the Party only, not its riding associations) who gave $1,100 or more in 2015 were only 4.37% of total donors (4,084 donors out of 93,426 donors total) but they gave the Party 22.87% of total donations raised ($4,866,373.76 out of the $21,276,897.57 total raised. In addition, the federal Liberals hold special events for donors who donate $1,500 or more annually (they become members of the exclusive Laurier Club). As the Globe and Mail reported recently, based on Elections Canada figures only 790 people (0.85% of all donors to the Liberals) donated $1,500 or more in 2015, and in 2014 only 522 people (0.68% out of 77,064 total donors) donated $1,200 or more (the amount needed then to attend a Laurier Club event). Toronto’s experience is another example of how high donation limits allow donors to get around bans of corporate and union donations. Such donations were banned in Toronto elections in 2009, and individual donations limited to $750 annually, but a 2016 analysis by the Toronto Star found that big business and other special interest group executives and their families continue to give large amounts to city councillors. Loans from financial institutions must also be limited to ensure financial institutions, businesses and unions can’t use loans as a means of unethical influence. Loans should only come from a public fund and be limited to the average total amount donated during the previous two years. If the parties can prove that they need public funding, annual per-vote funding should be no more than $1 per vote, and the parties should implement a similar annual public funding matching system as Quebec ($2.50 for the first $20,000 raised annually by each party, and $1 for the first $200,000 raised annually). Elections Quebec has analyzed the results of Quebec’s changes and found that the parties are still adequately funded. “To match Quebec’s world-leading democratic system, B.C. must limit individual donations to about $100 annually and, if the parties can prove they need it, use per-vote and donation-matching public funding to give parties and candidates funding based on their actual level of voter support,” said Conacher. “Similar changes should be made to B.C.’s municipal law, taking into account that there are no parties in most municipalities, to ensure every city and town across the province has the same democratic rules.” The key changes that must be made in B.C. to democratize its political finance system are as follows (and similar changes should be made province-wide to the municipal political finance system, taking into account that many municipalities do not have political parties): ban donations by corporations, unions and other organizations (Quebec enacted such a ban in the late 1970s); limit annual combined total donations of money, property and services by individuals to $100-200 to each party (Quebec’s limit is $100), and establish the same limit on candidates donating to their own campaign, with donations routed through the election watchdog agency (as in Quebec); prohibit loans to political parties, riding associations and candidates, except from a public fund (with loans limited to the average annual amount of donations received during the previous two years); limit spending leading up to, and during election campaigns by parties, nomination race and election candidates, third party interest groups, and also candidates in party leadership races; require disclosure of all donations and gifts of money, property, services and volunteer labour given to any party, riding association, politician, nomination race, election or party leadership candidate, including the identity of the donor’s employer, and board and executive affiliations (and the identity of anyone who assists with any fundraising); give annual public funding for parties based on each vote received during the last election (no more than $1 per vote, with a portion required to be shared with riding associations); give annual public funding for parties matching up to the first $500,000 raised (as in Quebec where the first $200,000 raised is matched); give public funding matching up to $25,000 that each nomination race and election candidate (including an independent candidate) raises (similar to Quebec's matching funding system), and public funding matching up to $100,000 that each party leadership campaign candidate raises, and; require election, donation and ethics watchdogs to conduct annual random audits to ensure all the rules are being followed by everyone; Elections B.C., or the Auditor General, must be empowered to review all government advertising and to stop or change any ad that is partisan or misleading; all penalties for violating donation and spending rules must be increased to minimum $100,000 fine and a multi-year jail term, and loss of any severance payment, and a partial clawback of any pension payments, and; Elections B.C. must be required to disclose the rulings they make on all complaints they receive as soon as they make the ruling, and to disclose the rulings they make on all investigations they initiate themselves.


A great start

This bill appears to cover all the relevant big-money issues, including in-kind contributions. I hope all the political parties are sincere about passing this bill and adhering to its provisions once it becomes law, because corporations and unions have had too much say in BC's affairs for too long.

Official response
submitted

Thank you for your feedback Carmen. We agree it is time for BC politics to be given back to the hands of BC residents! We greatly appreciate your support. 


$1200 = more corruption

The 1200 limit per year is a joke, as it will not stop the big money from coming in, it just means that union, corporation, and special interest group with deep pockets are going to be creative in working around the loopholes. There is a reason why Quebec has such a low annual contribution (100 per year).If the Green and NDP are serious about taking big money out of BC's politics, then they should look at Quebec, and Ontario for guidance. It's about time that politicians are held accountable for their actions. With the numerous amount of free advertisement tools( Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, Instagram, etc., politicians if they are amiable and let their actions speak for themselves -should have no problems with funding their campaigns. It's the prevalence of a lack of integrity among politicians that is responsible for a vast majority of problems in our political system. It's time we reward politicians based on their performances. Speaking of performance and accountability, taxpayers should not be responsible for footing Mr. Hogan legal bills. Thanks For reading !! R.A

Official response
submitted

Thank you for your feedback Rose. 

Thank you for taking the time to post, Andrew. We agree!!! A lower per individual limit would be more accessible for everyone, however, during negotiation with the NDP government, $1200 per individual a year was the compromise made between the two parties. 

Here is more on the consultation process from an article in the Globe and Mail: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/horgans-fundraising-policy-reversal-tied-to-greens-insiders-say/article36338684/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&


Changes should be revenue neutral

The per vote subsidy is probably fine, but it's significant enough of a change that it should be campaigned upon first. Overall, I think the proposed legislation is too big of a burden on taxpayers. In an example of a $100 donation, here's my understanding of the proposed scenario: Donor: $100-$75(rebate)=$25 actual cost. Party: Accepts and spends $100 on campaign. Then, receives $50 expense refund and ~$10/vote subsidy. So, the party ends up with $60 and whatever they bought with the $100. Tax Payers: $75(donation rebate) + $50(expense rebate) + $10(per vote subsidy) = $135 total tax payers' burden. More than the original donation!? In addition, our debt is financed so there are interest charges in play. Finally, political parties don't pay taxes so there is no revenue to the tax base. If I misunderstand the numbers, someone please correct me. Again, I think this proposed legislation puts too big of a burden on the tax payers. At a minimum, any changes should be revenue neutral to the tax payers. If we're going to add per vote subsidies, then we should reduce donation rebates and not include expense rebates.


Love it in principal

I'm just concerned about implementation and loopholes, but if it does what it says it will, I'm all for it.

Official response
submitted

Thank you for your feedback Mike! We are committed to keeping this legislation for BC residents and not corporate interests. We greatly appreciate your support. 


Yes

I very excited and happy to see this bill. I am hopeful for the changes that this may bring about in politics in our Province. Bring on Democracy! Although its a great start, I do feel that the $1200 limit is too high.


Full Support

Imbalances in election funding produce imbalances in results. I am happy to see the Greens and NDP have learned from the chaos down south. Thank you so much for this, if it passes I will help to restore legitimacy to modern democracy.

Official response
submitted

Thank you for your feedback Jeff! We greatly appreciate your support. 


Lower limits please

It's a good start. I would like to see the annual limit lower than $1200 -- more like the $700 that BCers want. I like the retroactivity to May 9. I'd also like to make sure it gets revisited periodically to ensure that big money doesn't find loopholes that lets them start trying to buy our government again.


This Campaign Finance Reform Bill Is Not Good enough

1. Ban on corporate and union donations Great! 2. Ensure BC has among the lowest individual contribution limits in the country This isn't good enough, this bill proposes an individual contribution limit of $1200, that's 12x the amount of Quebec's. The high contribution limit gives an unfair advantage to those who have greater wealth. We should be striving to give everyone equal power over their democracy. The BC Green party should push for an end to private individual campaign contributions in favour of a publicly funded donation voucher system. Let's take wealth out of equation, and give equal power to everyone. 3. Reduce overall election spending by political parties Great! 4. Eliminate loopholes for 3rd-party funding to avoid US-style PACs (political action committees) The importance of regulating 3rd-party funding can not be understated. Without strong regulations over PACs the ban on corporate and union donations becomes ineffective because they can easily skirt the ban. 5. Introduce this legislation immediately as one of the first bills tabled in the legislature. Amend the bill, with these concerns in mind. I would also like to see these campaign finance reforms implemented at the municipal level.

Official response
submitted

Thank you for taking the time to post, Andrew. We agree!!! A lower per individual limit would be more accessible for everyone, however, during negotiation with the NDP government, $1200 per individual a year was the compromise made between the two parties. 

Here is more on the consultation process from an article in the Globe and Mail: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/horgans-fundraising-policy-reversal-tied-to-greens-insiders-say/article36338684/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&

We greatly appriciate all your feedback.


Thank you

Thank you for eliminating the tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. Finally some fair treatment of the citizens who live South of the Fraser. Next steps: Please ban corporate and union donations and put a cap of individual contributions; Pass strong and enforceable animal welfare laws; Pass strong and enforceable wildlife protection laws; Get money out of politics. Thank you for engaging us in this process.

Official response
submitted

Thank you for your feedback Adam. It is extremely important to us that our supporters voices are heard and represented in the legislature. We will continue to work hard to bring better democracy to BC!!


A good start but $1200 is too high

Most middle and working class families cannot afford to donate $1200. This limit doesn't stop corporations from donating, it just makes them work harder--they can still parse out cash to board members, staff and their spouses so the money will add up, it'll just make them work a bit harder to exert their influence. But make no mistake, they will still try. Québec's limit is now $100 and they seemed able to run the last election perfectly fine. I would support a limit of $500 max. Make it realistic for average folk otherwise you are still giving the wealthiest 5% of the population an unfair ability to influence political outcomes.

Official response
submitted

Thank you for your feedback Maureen. We agree!!! A lower per individual limit would be more accessible for everyone, however, during negotiation with the NDP government, $1200 per individual a year was the compromise made between the two parties. 

Here is more on the consultation process from an article in the Globe and Mail: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/horgans-fundraising-policy-reversal-tied-to-greens-insiders-say/article36338684/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&


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