B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson in his legislature office, Feb. 13, 2020. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Political parties whose fundraising abilities have been curtailed by COVID-19 have mostly taken advantage of Ottawa’s wage subsidy, including “indirectly” the B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson says.

The B.C. Liberals and B.C. Green Party have resorted to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, a federal pandemic program that runs retroactively from March 15 to Aug. 29. The B.C. NDP have indicated they did not apply for the subsidy covering up to 75 per cent of wages, but the federal NDP have and Wilkinson said the uniquely integrated federal-provincial NDP amounts to the same thing.

“All of the parties in Canada that are relevant have taken the money, including the federal NDP, Tories, Liberals, Greens and the provincial Greens directly, and we assume the provincial NDP indirectly, because they’re one and the same party federally and provincially,” Wilkinson said in an interview.

Raj Sihota, provincial director of the B.C. NDP, said Wilkinson’s assumption is wrong, and what he is implying would be a violation of financing rules under the federal Election Act.

“There are no federal NDP staffers working for the B.C. NDP,” Sihota said in a statement. “No money flows from the federal NDP to the B.C. NDP or vice versa.”

Canadian political parties qualify because they have charitable status, with generous tax credits for people donating. For B.C. parties, the maximum credit is $500 a year, refunding 75 per cent of the first $100 contributed, 50 per cent of the next $450 and a third of the next $600.

RELATED: B.C. NDP brings in political party subsidy, collects $2 million

RELATED: Christy Clark begins party disclosure, NDP battles ‘big money’

Political parties qualify for the federal wage subsidy because their fundraising events can’t be held during the coronavirus pandemic restrictions on gatherings.

Corporate and union donations to B.C. parties were halted by the John Horgan NDP government in 2017, replaced with a $2.50-per-vote taxpayer subsidy to parties that Horgan had specifically ruled out during the 2017 election campaign. That subsidy declined to $2 per vote in 2020 and is scheduled to be reduced to $1.75 next year, after paying out nearly $2 million each to the NDP and B.C. Liberals in 2018, and $830,000 to the B.C. Greens.

Wilkinson said aside from two reporters, he has heard no public feedback on the decision to accept the wage subsidy for party employees, paid from donations plus the wage subsidy in addition to the taxpayer-funded caucus staff allotted to each party.

“So we’re seeing basically no commentary on this at all,” Wilkinson said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Search for missing hiker suspended once again

Search for Laurence Philippsen was revived over the weekend after new information was received

NIC practical nursing students hone skills on pandemic’s front line

‘It also has become clear that this is my thing,’ – NIC practical nursing student Breanna Patterson

Abuse rarely stops without intervention – RCMP

The Campbell River RCMP responded to 48 reports related to domestic violence… Continue reading

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Most Read