I received this reply in part to my lament regarding the party supporting millions of dollars of taxpayers $ being paid out to BC political parties: It’s a well-tested way to handle the transition political parties away away from their dependence on corporate and union donations. Well I disagree that parties need this money to survive not that they deserve this money. The public is cynical about BC politics precisely because of party politics. Governing should happen in the legislature by the MLAs not from party headquarters as happens far too much of the time. I thought the Green Party was going to be a party of principles, guarding tax payers money and ridding us of petty politics. Sadly it appears that they have instead chosen some quick taxpayer cash over principles. They have chosen to operate so much like the Liberals and NDP. Sad.... I had hoped for better.
Hi Bev, thank you very much for taking the time to write to us. I appreciate the opportunity to read more about your feedback.
I completely agree that the public is cynical about BC politics – and for good reason. The scandals that we have witnessed for decades are unacceptable in a modern, accountable democracy. For me, my concern is not that the administrations of political parties are causing potential corruption, but that that potential corruption happens inside the legislature with the decision-makers who we elect. Sometimes party practices can contribute to a serious problem (such as accepting corporate and union donations), but the root of the problem is what is happening in the legislature where cabinet makes decisions under potential conflicts of interest.
I also think that political parties are really important to the healthy functioning of the Legislature and the ability of MLAs to do their jobs well. For example, we are in constant contact with our MLAs about how voters feel about their work. Your feedback, along with everyone else's, goes into weekly or sometimes daily reports that we issue for our caucus and their legislative staff. The reports are discussed and explored by our MLAs both informally through discussions with party staff and at their formal caucus meetings. We believe this is a fundamental responsibility of our party – to stay connected to voters, collect feedback (both good and bad) and communicate it constantly to our MLAs so that they stay accountable to you. Without the party, this largely wouldn't happen. This is just one of the ways that the party contributes to supporting the work of our MLAs and democracy in BC.
I do believe that if political parties can operate without a public allowance, that is better. But to get to that point, we have to transition them off of what they currently rely on. If the government outlawed a revenue source that accounts for 50% of a business' income, I think that we would hope the government would help them get on their feet, rather than potentially crippling the goods and services they provide. I think of this transition similarly, but especially with the belief that political parties can provide very important services for our democracy.
I would love to hear more from you if you have more thoughts. They can be left in the comment section below.
Thanks for being engaged in this issue.