campaign finance

Shady Corporate and Foreign Donations Don’t Belong in B.C. Elections: New Poll

Christy Clark recently turned down the opportunity to limit foreign and corporate donations to political parties in campaigns. She justified her position by simply stating, “I represent everyone.”
 
Yet a new poll conducted by Insights West found the vast majority of British Columbians — 86 per cent — support a ban on both corporate and union political donations.
 
The poll, conducted on behalf of the Dogwood Initiative, a democracy advocacy organization, suggests Clark’s cozy relationship with major foreign and corporate donors could put her in the hot seat leading into the province’s next election.
 
That seat is likely to be even hotter after revelations Clark takes a cut of funds donated to the B.C. Liberal party through exclusive cash-for-access events that can cost up to $20,000 dollars to attend.
 
A high percentage of B.C. Liberal donors, 81 per cent, and an even higher number of B.C. NDP voters, 91 per cent, support putting a ban on corporate and union donations before the next election.

Woodfibre LNG, Ajax Mine Dropped Big Bucks in B.C.'s Local Elections

Well, the disclosure statements are in and we now know (sort of) how much was spent trying to sway voters during B.C.’s local elections in November.

In addition to disclosures on how much candidates spent during the elections, there are also filings for more than 100 organizations registered with Elections BC as third-party sponsors. This is the first time third parties have been forced to register with Elections BC and report their spending — and at least two resource companies are in the mix.

Big third-party advertisers include Woodfibre LNG, which spent $18,248 on newspaper and radio ads in Squamish, where the company is proposing a liquefied natural gas export terminal. The company spent 17 times what it would be allowed to spend per capita during a provincial election, according to analysis by Integrity BC — a non-profit organization that campaigns to reform B.C.’s electoral finance.

Why Super Natural British Columbia Still Has Super Pathetic Campaign Finance Laws

Imagine having to read through 10,000 written comments on the same topic. It would probably be a touch on the tedious side — yet that’s exactly what a task force did back in 2010 before issuing 31 recommendations to reform our province’s municipal elections.

The task force included three Liberal MLAs and four elected officials from towns and cities across British Columbia.

What was the most egregious problem they found during their investigation? Campaign finance rules.

In a nutshell, local elections in B.C. have been the Wild West of campaign finance — with candidates allowed to take donations from anyone and spend as much as they like.

Enbridge Blitzes Northern B.C. With Ads Before Kitimat Plebiscite On Northern Gateway Oil Pipeline

Enbridge website

Enbridge Northern Gateway is covering northern B.C. with ads in the run up to the Kitimat plebiscite, urging citizens to vote in favour of the company’s proposal to ship oil across B.C. and on to Asia on oil tankers.  

During a provincial election or initiative vote, Elections BC restricts how much companies and other third-party advertisers can spend — but no such rules apply to the Kitimat plebiscite, being held on April 12.

Full-page colour ads have appeared in community newspapers in Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers, Burns Lake and Fort St. James — a town nearly 600 kilometres away from Kitimat. The estimated cost of those ads is about $8,250.

Enbridge has also launched a website, “Vote Yes for Kitimat,” urging citizens to vote in favour of their project. A conservative price tag on the website would be about $2,000, bringing Enbridge’s ad spend so far to more than $10,000 — with four weeks left until the vote.

Fair Elections Act Would “Damage…the Heart of Our Country’s Democracy,” Group of Professors Say

Fair elections act Bill C-23

The changes to Canada’s federal elections proposed in the Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23), threaten to “seriously damage the fairness and transparency of federal elections and diminish Canadians’ political participation,” according to a collective of 160 Canadian professors. The group, comprised of academics specializing in “the principles and institutions of constitutional democracy,” released an open letter Tuesday requesting the federal government “heed calls for wider consultation in vetting this Bill.”

Beyond our specific concerns about the Bill’s provisions (see below), we are alarmed at the lack of due process in drafting the Bill and in rushing it through Parliament. We see no justification for introducing legislation of such pivotal importance to our democracy without significant consultation with Elections Canada, opposition parties, and the public at large.”

The group of signatories highlight four significant concerns associated with the proposed Fair Elections Act:

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