BC Liberals and BC NDP begin preparations for election
By Mercedes Deutscher, News Editor
With now under five months until British Columbians go to the polls, BC’s leading political parties are starting their financial preparations for May 9.
The BC Liberals have already been vigorously fundraising for their campaign; having raised $12.5 million in campaign funds in 2016, their total campaign fundraising is at $32.4 million since 2013.
Political parties are legally obligated to release their fundraising data every March. However, the governing party will be releasing fundraising reports to the public every two weeks until the election. Their data will also include details of those who have donated, and how much they have donated.
“Our voluntary real-time reporting of donations, in addition to strict spending limits on parties during campaigns, means that citizens can have confidence in our democracy,” said BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone to the Vancouver Sun. Stone has also been declared the BC Liberal election campaign co-chair.
Some of the BC Liberals’ fundraising tactics have brought on scrutiny, such as Premier Christy Clark and other ministers charging the public to attend events where they would be able to talk to the premier and other ministers. It is a move that the BC NDP, the primary opposition in the coming election, called “selling access to power,” according to the Vancouver Sun.
However, the BC NDP has hosted similar affairs, including a November event at which supporters could pay $10,000 to dine with BC NDP leader John Horgan.
The BC NDP is also criticizing their opponents for taking donations from unions and corporations, and claim that they will not be accepting such donations.
“It’s a gimmick, because there’s been so much fire for refusing to ban corporate and union donations. I think British Columbians will see through it,” said BC NDP MLA Jodie Wickens to the Vancouver Sun.
The BC Green Party hasn’t accepted such donations since last year.
Despite the criticisms of their main opponents’ fundraising techniques, it appears that the BC NDP will continue to accept the corporate and union donations during this election cycle, if only to compete with the BC Liberals. However, if elected, John Horgan had stated that they will change the election laws to disallow such donations in the future.