Get the money out of politics - it's a common refrain among political reformers and one that was heard again last week following news that special prosecutors and their law firms have made donations to the governing Liberals. But as someone who has spent countless hours and days reading through campaign disclosure statements - and yes, by the way, that is how I spend my spared time - I have some serious concerns about the unintended consequences of such a reform.
For example, the ban won't prevent corporate and union interests from bankrolling the province's parties. After all, individuals donations can and will still be made by their members, employees and executives. So unless reporters can connect those individuals back to the corporations or unions they work for or belong to - which is near impossible in the case of privately-held companies - the influence of those interests will go unreported.
That ban could also increase the power of fundraisers. After all, if parties can't get large donations from a small number of corporations or unions, they'll greater need for bagmen who can get smaller donations from a larger number of individuals. But unless those fundraisers are required to publicly disclose their activities - another near impossibility - it'll be difficult to find out who they are and what increase influence they might have over the parties they bankroll.
I could go on. But I think you understand what I'm getting at. Because even though a ban on corporate and union donations might look good on paper, in practice it may just make it more difficult to find out who are pulling the strings of power in British Columbia.