250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 27, 2017 4:56 pm

Election Financing Changes Introduced

Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 2:39 PM

Prince George, B.C. – On the first day back to work in the Legislature  since last week’s Throne Speech, the  Christy Clark government has introduced legislation  that would overhaul the  election  financing  rules.


The proposed Election Amendment Act, 2017 would set annual contribution limits, require “real-time” disclosure of donations, and ensure greater transparency and accountability of political parties and candidates to the public.

Key changes that place limits on political contributions include:

* A ban on corporate and union donations, including donations in kind, to political parties, their candidates and constituency associations.

* A ban on foreign donations, with the requirement that only individuals residing in British Columbia and who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible to donate.

* A maximum annual contribution limit of $2,500 for individuals to any one political party, and up to $2,500 to a party’s candidates and constituency associations (for a total allowable annual limit of $5,000 per year).

* Loans and guarantees to political parties and candidates must be only by a Canadian chartered bank or credit union at a fair rate of interest.

The proposed legislation includes a broader range of legislative measures that are aimed at creating a level playing field between political parties and third parties who sponsor election communications by applying the same rules. The amendments would regulate third party activities beyond paid advertising to include paid canvassing, direct mail and broadcasting opinion poll results if carried out on a paid commercial basis. Other measures include:

* Contributions to third parties will be limited to eligible individuals and limited to $2,500 per calendar year.

* Third party sponsors who raise more than $10,000 will be required to open a dedicated account at a financial institution for deposits and expenses.

* Sponsors who spend more than $10,000 on elections communications activities will require an audited disclosure report.

These reforms build on a similar bill that was introduced in March 2017, which included the following amendments:

* Lowering the threshold for reporting political contributions from a single contributor to $100 (currently it is $250).

* Reporting contributions by major political parties, candidates and constituency associations within 14 days of their deposit, including the nature of the contribution, whether it is a donation or a ticket charge or sponsorship at a fundraising function.

* Posting fundraising functions on the political party’s website within five days of the event.

* A penalty of $10,000 for failing to publish fundraising information as required.

* Giving the chief electoral officer authority to publish disclosure reports and other financing reports online.


“Reporting contributions … within 14 days of their deposit.”

I wonder why it is 14 days from the deposit of a contribution rather than 14 days from when the contribution was made. If a party delays depositing the donation for, say, 3 months, then it would be 3 1/2 months before any report is made. That may be significant during an election or some other campaign. Keep in mind that checks are valid for 6 months from date of issue.

    Perhaps a contributor could change his mind and put a stop payment on the cheque before it was deposited? In any case the contribution, unless it’s made in cash, couldn’t be spent until the money is in the bank.

Long overdue reforms. Shame on the ndp and greens for rejecting their election platform and voting these reforms down. Shows the hypocrisy in their grab for power.

Comments for this article are closed.