Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. to Remain 'Wild West' of Campaign Finance without a New Government: Experts

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. to Remain 'Wild West' of Campaign Finance without a New Government: Experts

Article excerpt

Campaign-finance squabbles permeate B.C. election

--

VANCOUVER - Without a change in government, British Columbia is likely to remain a "wild west" of campaign finance, where wealthy corporations and unions are free to donate unlimited amounts of money to curry favour with provincial politicians, experts say.

Voters head to the polls in less than two weeks and the province's lax political fundraising laws have become a dominant undercurrent in the election campaign.

The province's two main political parties are swapping accusations that the other is bought and beholden to deep-pocketed donors ahead of the May 9 vote. Corporate and union contributions are banned federally and in some provinces, while many jurisdictions restrict the amount donors can pledge.

Max Cameron, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, said Thursday that the incumbent B.C. Liberals have been in power for 16 years and have shown little interest in reforming political fundraising laws, despite mounting public pressure.

"You need alternation in power. You need to have genuinely competitive elections where governments change," Cameron said.

"If the government is secure in office it's unlikely to introduce changes to policies that it benefits from."

New Democrat Leader John Horgan has said the Liberal party's funding by corporations is the largest in provincial history, and he accuses it of acting on behalf of its financial backers at the expense of average people.

Liberal Leader Christy Clark has denounced the NDP and its support from big labour, noting that the United Steelworkers Union is paying the salaries of the New Democrats' top campaign officials.

The B.C. Greens have rejected all corporate and union donations as it bids to expand its lone seat in the legislature.

Hamish Telford, a professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley, said B. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.