bc liberal party
Earlier this month the 2016 donation numbers for B.C.'s political parties were filed with Elections B.C. and, not unexpectedly, it was another bumper crop for the B.C. Liberals. The party raised $13.1 million, more than any other provincial party in Canada and $4.8 million more than the federal NDP and Green Party combined.
B.C. politics already has its dark money donations that are difficult to trace back to an actual donor. But the free for all when it comes to political fundraising in the province has given rise to another murky practice: raising campaign cash from some dark corners of the world.
Using the B.C. government's proposed real-time disclosure of political donations bill as a prop, Clark announced that if re-elected her government will move to establish an independent panel to review B.C.'s Elections Act and come up with recommendations for the legislature's consideration.
This past weekend the Globe and Mail reported that lobbyists in the province have been making political donations on behalf of their clients, effectively camouflaging the identity of the real donors and breaking B.C.'s Elections Act in the process.
If last year's provincial budget could be described as "petty" after Finance Minister Mike de Jong doled out an increase in assistance rates for those living with disabilities -- only to claw most of it back by ending the subsidized bus pass program -- this year's budget could best be described as "petulant."
Splat. It would seem British Columbia's 41st general election is well underway. News that someone may have hacked the B.C. Liberal party's website caused quite the uproar. Charges, counter-charges, flurries of tweets, threats of lawsuits, privacy investigations, possible police investigations, it had it all.
The stipend affair has not been one of Clark's shining moments. It was sad that a premier who once boasted she was going to put families first didn't appreciate the optics of accepting a semi-secret, five-figure top-up that was more than most British Columbians make in a year.
Mere hours before the New York Times went to press with its look at the B.C. Liberal party's ethical scorecard, the party chose to get its 2016 fundraising results out ahead of the storm. One last chance at political counter-spin and what a marvel of spin it was. U.S. Republican party strategist Karl Rove would have been proud.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has embarked on a cross-Canada tour, ostensibly to reconnect with Canadians -- or at least those that can't afford $1,525 to bend his ear in private. At three times his going rate, the prime minister would still be a bargain compared to Christy Clark.
The year is almost a wrap and - safe to say - 2016 was one for the books. In keeping with the spirit of the season, it's time again for a few New Year's resolutions for B.C.'s political parties and politicians to consider in their on-going quest for self-improvement.