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.

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100% support this bill - too bad the per vote subsidy communication was so badly handled

I fully support the intent and content of the bill, including the per vote subsidy interim plan. But I am afraid we may have lost some trust with voters due to the way this topic has been presented by the media who are reporting that it was slipped into the bill without first getting advice from an "independent commission who would review campaign financing", as promised prior to the election. 

Official response
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Thank you for your honest feedback David, your comments are greatly appreciated. 

$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
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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&

21st Century way to finance elections

I really like the bill including the per vote financing of political parties. Under current system taxpayers are funding political parties big time, with maximum rebates for big donors being about $550 so this is nothing new. The per vote financing of political parties is fair. No taxpayer will have their $2.50 given to a party they didn't vote for. 796,772 Liberal voters will contribute to the Liberals, 795, 106 NDP voters will contribute to the NDP, and 332,387 Green voters will contribute $2.50 to the party they voted for. What's unreasonable about that? It will be the only tiny fraction of the taxes you pay that you have any say in how it is spend.

Official response
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Thank you very much for your support Murray. We greatly appreciate your feedback and we agree! 

British Columbians should be able to trust their government to put them - not special interests - first. This legislation is a big step towards restoring that trust. In our consultations leading up to the introduction of this legislation, our caucus’ core goals were to ban on corporate and union donations, to ensure B.C. is among the lowest individual contribution limits in the country and that this happened immediately as one of the first bills tabled in the legislature!

A Good First Step

I think this bill takes care of many of the fundamental issues we've been encumbered with as a Province and puts a massive dent in the NYT's hopes of continuing to call us the "Wild West." I'm split on the public funding of parties. I think a standard funding model favours the governing / popular parties and leaves independents and smaller parties further behind, which moved first past the post even further from a shot a proportional representation of some kind. That's a problem, but one I can live with for one term (only) given the pros of the current bill.

Official response
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Thank you for your encouragement David! I agree independents should be more supported. The 50% campaign reimbursement included in the bill can make this possible! The initiative is designed to make running for MLA more accessible to everyone! This way candidates can compete with others from big parties while transitioning away from corporate and union donations.

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
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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&

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
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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. 

Agree!

I agree with them all. It's been out of control and unbalanced. This will help. The last thing we need is to end up the like US where only the rich have any influence. Overall total spending for elections should be much lower. People don't vote for someone because of lawn signs. Have more media interviews and debates, less travelling to each community. Make it so ALL major parties (including the Greens) are on a more equal level of spending for elections. Thank you, Green Party!

Official response
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Thank you Merina! We appreciate your feedback. 

A poor start to Banning Big money

There is zero accountability for a donation, and the amount is ridiculously high. Better have every donation routed through a central commission where it is fully documented first, then sent to the political party (yes, like that in Quebec). The donation is so high that ordinary low income folks are left out of the process. A low income person may be able to afford 10 or maybe 20 dollars, but one person donating 1200 dollars can get 60 times 'bang for the buck'. the max donation should be capped at 25 dollars. I agree with government funding for political parties based on the popularity vote. However, that should fund every party that fields candidates in the previous election.

Official response
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Thank you for your feedback Al. 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&

A start, but still big loopholes

After hearing an analysis on CBC Radio, I agree that the donation limit is still inaccessible for many and therefore skewed to the wealthy. As well, the speaker believed that donations can still be funneled by corporations or unions to their members and would be indistinguishable from personal donations. Quebec has a model with a low donation limit where donations are received and recorded by Elections Quebec to prevent corruption from simply going deeper underground.

Official response
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Hello Jill, 

 

Thank you for your feedback. We agree $100 per individual a year is a more accessible limit, 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&

Ban big money

I am very pleased and like the subsidy too. not sure about partial expense reimbousement. This letter by me was published in the TC yesterday Dear Sir, I am very pleased to see meaningful campaign finance reform and in particular the per vote subsidy. Yes, it requires taxpayers to pay for something they do not want ( kind of like the union dues check-off, maybe?) , but the per vote subsidy serves to partly offset the pernicious effect of the first-past-the- post electoral system. One's vote is no longer wasted, as one’s previously wasted vote would at least earn a dollar or two for one’s chosen party. Since I believe that we will never ever have proportional representation in Canada, this subsidy takes on extra importance. In fact we could offer the potential abolition of the subsidy in a referendum on proportional representation. Some of those opposed to proportional representation might possibly be swayed by the abolition of the voting subsidy. Kudos to British Columbia’s new government for making the system a bit fairer for all. Yours truly, David Pearce

Official response
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We appreciate your support David! Thank you for writing to the Times Colonist :) 

Ban Big Money

$1200 is a bit high. $1000 $2.50 subsidy is a bit rich and bad optics as we stand to benefit the most. $1.25 is more reasonable. This was the federal subsidy before it was eliminated.

Official response
submitted

Hello Rick, 

Thank you for your feedback. We agree $100 per individual a year is a more accessible limit, 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&

Additionally, the "per-vote allowance" will start at $2.50, but will decrease every year for 4 years before being eliminated. 

Ban Big Money

Actually, I am delighted with the ban. However, rather than giving the unthinking naysayers anything to grouse about, why can't we do some kind of a reduction via taxes IF you vote. Kills two birds in one stroke...Stops the naysayers and may building voter participation. It can't be that difficult to do. and it would stop that reputation that the NDP has of being spendy. Transitions taxes are too easy to maintain, and too easy to oppose.

Official response
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Thank you for your feedback Ann!

Ban big money bill

Overall, I am in favour of the proposed legislation except for the provision of public subsidies to each political party. I do not feel this is a tax payer responsibility. Each Party needs to be creative in its fundraising and budget accordingly. Admittedly, this will be a challenge. If the federal government can eliminate such subsidies (under Harper) then so can the provinces.

Official response
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Hello Wayne,

Thank you for your feedback. 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.

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 big money bill

In the debate and conversations I've observed the most contentious point seems to be the funding of the parties by taxes. This debate is almost completely reactive, and for the most part, I believe, reflects a lack of understanding about how political systems work; why it is more advantageous to have equitable public funding of the process rather than vested-interest funding; that the proposal is itself designed as a transition mechanism. In short, I think that the communications and messaging around the proposed public funding for the parties should be prioritized and vigorous, otherwise we are looking at an issue that can cause more and more reactive debates that are going to tie up a lot of time and energy, mire down the process and could even derail it.

Official response
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Thank you very much for your feedback Rita. I will be sure to pass this information on to our communication team!! We greatly appreciate your support!!! 

BanCorporate and Union contributions

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

Banning Big Money Donations

l personally feel the allowable limit for donations, should be much lower. That way, each citizen of BC will be able to feel that they can contribute and afford to support their candidate and their party. Many people cannot afford to contribute the proposed $1,200 annual limit, so the few that can afford to, will have more influence than the majority, who cannot afford such an amount. l think it should be a limit of around $500. That way the parties will be on an equal footing and will have to be more involved with the election process, instead of buying billboards, and radio, print, and tv media advertising. The politicians will have to be more involved with the populace, one on one.

Definitely, eliminate any possible loop-holes for 3rd-party funding for PACs. l like the idea of less overall election spending, as it becomes more about the getting to know the candidates and the parties, by their efforts to work the crowds in the ridings and in the Province. lt brings the politicians back onto the level of the citizenry, instead of directing a 'War Games' election strategy from their 'lofty towers'.  

The NDP and Greens blew it when they just bought out their election financing reform package. lt seemed that right away they said we will ban c, u and in-kind donations, but now we will make you, the taxpayers shoulder the funding of the contesting parties for their election campaign. Why do politicians, in power, have such a 'perception deficit'? Don't they see that such a narrative is just going to blow up in their faces, and people will have forgotten that they were changing the election financing limit (which many of those that are now disgruntled, were wanting the NDP & greens to implement).

Besides editing for grammar and spelling, l wish that the two political parties that are now leading the charge for change would also look at what they are trying to convey in the 'Message' and how it might be perceived.

'Two examples would be: the 'Ban on the Grizzly Bear Hunt' (except for eating the bear meat). Why couldn't the NDP have the balls to just ban the Grizzly Bear hunt. Now they have created a contentious loop-hole, so their ban is totally unenforceable and toothless.

The other, is when the NDP fired Gordon Wilson from his Liberal hired position. Any mature, diplomatic and wise politician and party, would have said, "Thank you for your services, but we will not be continuing your contract / employment, so let us work out a severance package", instead of slandering Wilson, and saying that he had done nothing worthwhile, which lead to a defamation suit, that will cost BC Taxpayers, all because of an arrogant Politician's ego rant.

We have to remember that not everybody voted for your two parties...Around 40% for the NDP and about 20% for the Greens, so be respectful and attentive to all BC citizens. You will get the traction and support to enact a lot more of your agenda, if you are listening and pacing yourselves so that you have the voters understanding and accepting your bills and legislation.

Let's bring about Real Change for the people of BC and the wonderful Province that we live in. Clive Langton

Official response
submitted

Hello Clive, 

Thank you for your feedback. 

We agree $100 per individual a year is a more accessible limit, 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&

As for the relationship between the NDP and Green Caucus, I want to reassure you that the BC Greens remain a distinctly separate political party and have only agreed to support the BC NDP on confidence and supply votes (about 2 votes per year). We will vote independently from the BC NDP on every single other issue, using the available evidence and our own principles and platform to guide our decisions.

Both the BC NDP and the BC Greens agree that the legislature works best when all MLAs work together to pursue the betterment of British Columbia. In a minority government, any MLA can bring forward good policy for consideration and have it passed by the Legislature. We will work with the BC Liberals to advance good public policy, and hold the BC NDP to account.

I hope this alleviates some of your concerns. 

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.

Ban should be on all potential PAC type groups

Donations from any groups, not only corporate and unions but also churches, associations, and organizations. On the other hand, individual donations should be promoted and $1,200 is too low for a yearly donation, I would think that $2,500 is more reasonable. In the case of donation to the Greens, you should modernize payment methods to include Paypal and other means.

Official response
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Thank you for your feedback David! 

BC Free hydro

Just to add to my free hydro idea, I'd like to see BC hydro get into the research & development and international sales of renewable energy, solar, wind, geothermal, and electromagnetic power generation systems,

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