A clearcut issue

The Conservation Voters of British Columbia are considering launching a campaign that could force the provincial government to ban political parties from accepting corporate and union donations, Public Eye has learned. Under British Columbia's Recall and Initiative Act, if the environmental group can get 10 percent of the registered voters in every riding to sign a petition supporting such a ban, the government would be required to either a) put the proposal to a province-wide vote or b) introduce legislation supporting that proposal. The conservation voters' board of directors will likely discuss whether to go ahead with a petition-drive at the group's annual general meeting, scheduled for April 22.

16 Comments

At least with donations going directly to the parties they are subject to disclosure and the spending caps. All these so-called corporate and union donation bans do is send the money into third party spending campaigns where there is no cap and no disclosure. If we are going to get serious about donation reform the third party loophole must be plugged.

Whats wrong with society when we call the right of the individual to independently communicate ideas and opinions ("speech") during an election a "loophole"?

The elusive Kevin Larsen says: If we are going to get serious about donation reform the third party loophole must be plugged.

So you agree with Carole James, then, that corporate and union donations be eliminated and reasonable limits placed on third-party limits? Your eminent leader may have to have you flogged for not spouting party policy like every other good Liberal.

Jones: To the best of my knowledge, Carole James has NOT called for limits on third parties, or endorsed such a plan. (Wilcocks points this out in a Sun article Aug 20, 2005).

Also her private member's bill from December calls for a review panel to write a report which may examine "election communications and advertising," but does not legislate a limit to third party communication.
(http://www.legis.gov.bc.ca/38th1st/1st_read/m202-1.htm)

If she has made any recent statements that I haven't caught, I'd like to hear it.

Jonesy. I don't take issue with the current practice of unions or corporations donating to political parties provided the spending is capped and the donations are disclosed. Likewise I don't take issue with third party advertising either, provided it too is capped and the donors disclosed.

I see no point in banning corporate or union donors so they can simply be allowed to spend more money and hide behind the political walls of 'third party' advertising. Does BC really need more 'non-partisan' coalitions? Evidently Carole James thinks we do. After the Public Eye Introduction to Mr. Coates and his so called 'non-partisan' Elk Valley and South Country Health Care Coalition website I can clearly see why.

I have yet too see Carole James call for spending caps and disclosure on third party advertisers. If she does, I will be the first to agree with her.

Do we really think it is just a coincidence that there was a record amount of third party advertisers being registered at the same time that Carole James and the NDP are calling for a ban on corporate and Union donations?

Check this link there, Kev and your brother Guy:

http://tinyurl.com/rpu8u
The Opposition Leader restated her call to end political donations from business and unions, saying that democracy should be given back to the people it serves.

�Again, I ask the Premier to bring forward legislation this session that will limit the funding of political parties to individual citizens and that will cap third-party spending at reasonable limits,� said James.

Hey Kev and "Guy", what's the respected premier's position on this issue?

Correct me if I am wrong, but if we outlaw donations to a political campaign, based on any criteria period, are we not allowing someone from buying political power ?
I know of an elected MP who bought a house for 250K and sold it for 500K.
Who bought this house for hundreds of thousand of dollars more than it was worth ?
A supporter of course.
Could Belinda buy the leadership of the Liberal Party ?
I don't have the answer. If anyone does, please let me know.

Belinda could buy the Liberal leadership by arranging for her Billionaire Father Frank Stronach to buy the Liberal Party's $30 million debt from the chartered banks and make the terms of repayment somewhat less stringent, though any explicit subsidization would have to be considered a donation and therefore might not be allowed. That would endear her to every Liberal in the nation.

I agree that business and union donations should be prohibited and that "third party" spending must be capped and controlled. That runs contrary to the position of PM Stephen Harper and the Tory Party who were positivley delighted when junior courts in Alberta struck down federal elections legislation that capped third party spending. Unlike many other court judgments that overturned statutes, Harper did not think this instance amounted to his dreaded "judicial sctivitism", a term he learned many years ago as a young Reformer watching the Robert Bork non-confirmation hearings on TV.

As for the Conservation Voters of BC, they are basically a Liberal front group beholden to David Anderson. Now that he has quit politics I don't know where they are getting their orders from.

Some shadow organization is calling for a ban in direct donations so the NDP can utilize their huge advantage in third party spending. Not that shocking. What's more shocking is that people don't see through these hollow gestures.

Limits on third party spending have been struck down by the courts multiple times in various locals. Carole knows that. That shows Carole's talk is just that. She's trying to con the public. She wants the advantage and who can blame her. This gives her and her union supporters a huge advantage. At least direct donations are made in a transparent and accountable manner, unlike third party donations.

My bet is you'll see the BC Fed involved soon if they do proceed with this.


Giver falsely states that the NDP and labour enjoy an overall advantage in terms of third party advertising. As he well knows, nothing could be further from the truth. It's the Liberals and business who have that market cornered and any modest entries by the left are pretty small scale by comparison.

Sounds to me like a few environmentalists -- aka the enemies of BC -- are trying to get an advantage for the Green Party. Rich foreign businessmen and coffee-sucking granola-heads always have money to spend on the Liberals and Green Party. If unions can't donate, the voice of the working man is lost forever!

Between the Liberals and the Green Party, it's hard to say who hates ourt freedom more!

"Giver" says:
Some shadow organization is calling for a ban in direct donations so the NDP can utilize their huge advantage in third party spending. Not that shocking. What's more shocking is that people don't see through these hollow gestures. Limits on third party spending have been struck down by the courts multiple times in various locals.

Actually, the Supreme Court of Canada says that "reasonable limits" (gee, where have we heard that term before?) on third-party advertising are not unconstitutional. It was Gordon Campbell's ideological cousin, Steven Harper, who fought tooth and nail against third-party limits. See in Gordo and Steve's world, it's one-dollar, one vote. So the more dollars you have, the more power you should be able to wield.

Nice try, "Giver." (Ever notice how Kevin Larsen disappears when the facts come out?) Just saying...

Budd,

I can reluctantly agree with you when I think you are on to something, however, I must disagree when it becomes apparent that you are ON something. Case in point, third party advertising.

Type 'Union' into the Elections BC website and surprise, surprise, you will see over 40 Unions registered as third party election advertisers. Add in those various so-called 'non-partisan' health coalitions like Mr. Coates and his so called 'non-partisan' Elk Valley and South Country Health Care Coalition website and you have easily over 50 third party advertisers frothing at the mouth in favor of the socialist hordes.

My challenge to you Budd, is to prove your statement 'Giver falsely states that the NDP and labour enjoy an overall advantage in terms of third party advertising. As he well knows, nothing could be further from the truth. It's the Liberals and business who have that market cornered and any modest entries by the left are pretty small scale by comparison.'

Budd, you show me 50 or more third party advertisers from the business community that are registered with elections BC as third party advertisers. Given that this is 'far from the truth' according to you, this should be an easy task for you to complete.

The Elections BC reports will only cover those groups who registered to advertise during the election period.

The various business groups, like Believe BC and the like, were doing huge volumes of advertising in the pre-writ period. The messages in those ads, and other campaigns like the silly bugger "You're hired" spots, in which The Billionaire himself actually agreed to reduce himself to party hackery, was carefully designed to dovetail and reinforce the equally silly "BC - Best Place on Earth" ads that the BC Govt ran using millions of tax dollars.

Giver is uttering a complete falsehood in saying that the left, the NDP and Labour however defined, have more cash to spend on various third party political promotions than do the vast panoply of business lobbies, front groups, etc.

At the very least I would like to see a ban on FORIEGN donations.

I'd define foriegn as anything (people, businesses, unions, 3rd parties etc) based outside of BC.

During our just past Federal election, Tony Valeri in Hamilton ( Sheila's nemesis ) bought a house in Hamilton , and proceeded to sell it for a huge profit to a Liberal supporter.
Opposition asked for an enquiry and were denied, because the Parliament was between sittings.
There are methods of delivering money to candidates, no matter what you do.

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