Public financing is appropriate but with it must come more effective oversight, particularly related to nominations. Political parties perform a fundamental function in a democracy. They are the gatekeepers for anyone wishing to enter public life. That function should not be open to abuse of all kinds as is the case in all parties. Increased public funding dooms the notion that political parties are private organizations that exist to serve the interests of members and the leadership. The NDP/Green should not just dip into the public money but simultaneously amend the Elections Act to regulate inter party nomination and leadership contests and have Elections BC administer such contests.
Thank you for your thoughtful feedback Nick. 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.
The per-vote allowance is a temporary measure. The amount will decrease every year until it is completely eliminated at the end of 4 years.