Polak and B.C. Liberals don’t get it on electoral finance reform

(Victoria, 15 April 2013) – B.C. Liberal MLA Mary Polak showed she and her party just don’t get it when it comes to electoral finance reform, according to IntegrityBC.

Criticizing yesterday’s campaign commitment by the B.C. NDP to ban corporate and union donations to B.C.’s political parties, Polak claimed that this would lead to public financing of political parties, while ignoring both the fact that B.C. parties are already publicly financed through generous tax credits to donors and the fact that the per vote allowance that exists at the federal level is being phased out.

The B.C. Liberals are placing their partisan self-interest on this issue ahead of the public’s interest,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis.

IntegrityBC noted that the NDP has called for an all-party committee to study future funding models for political parties. The organization believes one of the first questions that such a committee can consider is whether election spending limits in the province can be reduced, noting that the current $18.2 million limit for party and candidates is three times the existing federal limit on a per voter basis.

In claiming that political parties aren’t often at the top of people’s financial giving lists in difficult economic times, Polak fails to consider the far more generous tax credits afforded to individuals contributing to a B.C. party than those for donations to a charitable organization.

Currently, donors who give $100 to a party receive a $75 tax credit, at $250 donors receive a $150 tax credit. The public subsidy maxes out at a $500 credit for a $1,200 donation.

Polak also claims that simple donor disclosure is sufficient, however, she does not point out that B.C. has some of the weakest rules in Canada when it comes to disclosing political donations.

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For more information:

Dermod Travis, Executive Director