NDP leader John Horgan, BC Liberal leader Christy Clark and B.C. Green leader Andrew Weaver prepare for their first debate in the 2017 election campaign. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Millions raised, spent in B.C.’s last ‘big money’ election

NDP government to ban corporate, union donations

The B.C. NDP took in more than $9 million in political contributions for the May B.C. election, with the help of more than $3 million from unions, compared to $7.6 million for the B.C. Liberals, according to expense filings released Tuesday by Elections B.C.

The filings show the B.C. Liberals outspent the NDP by $4.6 million to $4.3 million during the restricted spending period of the election, in what is expected to be the last B.C. campaign with the current loose limits on political contributions and expenditures. The NDP minority government has pledged to ban corporate and union donations and put a limit on individual donations.

Elections B.C. reports include a searchable database to look up individual donors and finances for each of the 87 constituencies.

The B.C. Liberals raked in $13 million in 2016, more than some federal parties, in the province notorious in Canada for having no limit to personal, corporate or union donations. Real estate developers, resource industries and hospitality companies led the way.

The B.C. Liberals campaigned on a promise to refer provincial election finance rules to an independent review. But faced with a united NDP-Green opposition after the election, former premier Christy Clark’s throne speech included a vow do eliminate corporate and union donations immediately. That throne speech was rejected in a vote of non-confidence that led to the NDP government of Premier John Horgan.

The B.C. NDP lagged behind in fundraising, but going into the May election they managed to scoop the largest single donation in the province’s history, more than $650,000 from the United Steelworkers and various locals. It then emerged that the party’s top campaign managers were being paid directly by the U.S.-based union.

The B.C. Liberal riches became more embarrassing when it was learned that lobbyists were being pressured into buying tables at fundraising dinners, then charging the costs back to their corporate clients. This violates Elections BC rules, because it conceals the true source of the donations.

The B.C. Liberals ended up returning nearly $60,000 in improperly reported donations, dating back to 2011, and revising their annual financial reports going back to 2005 to correct the sources of another $40,000.

Just Posted

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

VIDEO: NIC officially opens new Thunderbird Mall Campus

“The community is really eager to see our new space.”

Survey says: Port Hardy Fire Rescue deserves on-call pay

75 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of financial compensation for the fire department.

VIDEO: Incredible waves spotted at Cape Scott

Lighthouse keeper captures video of huricane force winds

Tyson’s Thoughts: Make Port Hardy great again with a new multiplex in 2018

Population growth means there should be more recreational activities for community members to enjoy.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

UPDATE: Ferries sailing again after stormy weather caused cancellations

B.C. Ferries cancelled numerous sailings around Vancouver Island today, Jan. 21

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Man receives four-year sentence for stabbing Good Samaritan near Qualicum Beach

Jeffrey Brian MacDonald sentenced to additional 242 days in jail

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike in Victoria delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Most Read