Independent MLA Proposes Radical Reform of Election Financing

The Independent MLA for Cariboo North, Bob Simpson, has tabled the Election Finance Amendment Act that restricts the right to donate to candidates and political parties to registered British Columbia voters only and caps those individual donations at $1000 per year.

“The fundamental principle of democracy is one person one vote. However, this fundamental principle is undermined by money,” said Simpson. “Specifically, the ability of candidates and political parties to raise money from organizations which do not have voting rights, and the ability of people with financial means to ‘enhance’ their vote, and therefore their influence, thru cash donations.”

“The current freedom of organizations and individuals to donate huge sums to political parties significantly undermines the ‘one person, one vote’ principle and breeds cynicism among voters who do not have the means to enhance their vote with money — which is the vast majority of voters,” Simpson continued.

Simpson’s Private Member’s Bill would create a radical change from the current system by creating a fundamental shift in the relationship between candidates and political parties with the voting public.

“Rather than depending on organizations and people with means to underwrite their campaigns, political parties and candidates will have to reconnect with individual voters and reflect their issues and concerns in both their platforms and their policy initiatives in order to obtain their financial support and their vote,” said Simpson.

Independent MLA Bob Simpson has tabled three Bills this session that seek to give British Columbians a more fair and transparent democracy. The Fall Fixed Election Amendment Act moves the fixed election date to the fall in order to bring more transparency and accountability to the budget process in the election year and stop the budgeting process from being abused for political purposes. The Election Transparency Amendment Act allows voters to see who is donating to candidates and parties before the election date, and this, The Election Finance Amendment Act would restore accountability to the electoral system by ensuring that the principle of “one person, one vote” is honoured and reflected in how election campaigns are financed