Premier John Horgan speaks to a rally at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver during the 2017 election campaign, in which the NDP made no mention of a public subsidy. (Black Press files)

Premier John Horgan speaks to a rally at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver during the 2017 election campaign, in which the NDP made no mention of a public subsidy. (Black Press files)

UPDATE: NDP caps party donations at $1,200 per person

Public subsidy of $2.50 per vote would pay NDP, B.C. Liberals almost $2 million each next year

Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby began delivering on their often-promised restrictions on donations to political parties Monday, with the surprise move to replace the money with millions in public subsidies for parties.

Eby introduced a bill in the legislature that limits individual donations to $1,200 a year, the second-lowest limit in Canada, and bans union and corporate donations. Any prohibited donations collected since the May 2017 election can’t be used in a future election.

The legislation also includes a “transitional annual allowance” for political parties with a minimum number of votes, amounting to $2.50 per vote received next year. That amount diminishes to $2.25 per vote in 2019, $2 in 2020 and and $1.75 in 2021 and 2022.

The allowance would pay the NDP $1.9 million in 2018 alone, with diminishing amounts in the next four years. The B.C. Liberals would make a similar amount based on the 2017 vote count, and the B.C. Greens would get $830,000 in 2018 with more in future years.

Premier John Horgan specifically ruled out using public money to replace corporate and union donations in the months before the May election campaign began. Horgan and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver congratulated each other for the new legislation at a media briefing at the legislature Monday, and left without taking questions.

Eby took questions, saying the provision to forbid parties from using money raised since May of this year was one consideration in reversing NDP policy and bringing in the public subsidy. He said parties can’t use prohibited donations for advertising or other election expenses during the formal 28-day election campaign period, but they can use it to pay down debt, pay staff, buy property or other expenses not directly related to election campaigns.

B.C. Liberal critic Andrew Wilkinson said his party will vote against the per-vote subsidy, which he expects to pass with NDP and Green support. “It’s pretty clear the NDP and Greens have cut a deal” to benefit their parties, Wilkinson said.

“A special committee of the legislature will review the allowance to determine if it should be continued,” Eby said in a statement. “If no action is taken, the allowance will expire in 2022.”

Asked if local governments would be included in the new rules, as the previous government had proposed, Eby said “We are still working on that.”

The B.C. Liberals re-introduced their own proposal last week, including a $5,000 cap on annual personal donations and no public subsidy.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peace Arch Hospital Foundation executive director Stephanie Beck speaks at a 2017 groundbreaking ceremony. In March 2020, she announced the Rapid Response Grant Program, aimed at providing financial assistance during the pandemic. (File photo)
Peace Arch Hospital Foundation launches youth program

Youth in Action designed for students who want to make an impact in their community

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Surrey RCMP asking for dash-cam video of ‘suspicious incident’

Incident involves a newer model Toyota Rav 4 SUV

Surrey RCMP are investigating a “serious” collision near Cloverdale Saturday evening. (Curtis Kreklau photo)
Surrey RCMP investigating ‘serious’ collision in Cloverdale

Witness says vehicle collided with utility pole at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Most Read