Robust political tradition

It’s important to know what electoral finance reform would allow and not allow

It’s important to know what electoral finance reform would allow and not allow (Financing provincial elections, Campbell River Mirror, April 11, 2013).

It would stop some of Alberta’s wealthiest individuals from donating to B.C.’s political parties, as a few do today even though they can’t vote in B.C. It would stop corporations and unions from writing cheques to their favourite political party, leaving the impression ? if not the reality ? of undue influence. Corporations and unions also can’t vote.

But it won’t stop them from participating in the political process; it’ll just be in their voice, not someone else’s. And their spending will be limited in a campaign, as it is today; limits that have already been deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada.

As the Court noted in 2004: ?If a few groups are able to flood the electoral discourse with their message, it is possible, indeed likely, that the voices of some will be drowned out? And that’s why it’s time to take big money out of B.C. politics. Since 2005, corporations and unions have donated $60 million to the B.C. Liberals and NDP. In the same period, as a result of federal legislation, not a single cent has flowed from corporations and unions to Canada’s political parties. Yet, Canada still has a “robust political tradition,” as will B.C. when similar rules are adopted here.

Dermod Travis

IntegrityBC