Political donations breed corruption

Do you think your concerns will count as much as party donors?

A recent CBC article outlined how BC is the ‘wild west’ of political financing, illustrated by the listing of the top donors to all major parties. You will not be surprised to see Teck as the largest donor to the BC Liberals and the Government Employee’s union as the top donor to the NDP over the last decade. Both gave over $2 million each to the Liberals and NDP respectively.

The toxicity of this unregulated and free for all system is problematic in that it creates an environment that breeds corruption and influence peddling. This creates a rift between the ruling government and the overall populace. Would you and Don Lindsay, CEO of Teck, or Stephanie Smith, the President of the BC GEU, be treated the same, even if each of you wanted action on the same issue?

A study released by Princeton that tracked the influence of money in the US political system, which is very close to how we regulate donations, showed that the 1800 pieces of legislation passed though the federal government from 1980 to 2002, and found that ‘economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.’ (https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf)

Further, another article in The Hill highlights an expose from 60 Minutes where we find politicians have to spend more time fundraising than working for their constituents. The average member of congress has to raise $18,000 a day to fund a re-election.

From school funding, to heath care, to infrastructure and so on, the tendrils of corruption through legalized bribery permeates a government skewing rules, regulations and contracts back to those who have bought their representative.

That is the same style of politics that we are moving towards in BC without removing these threats to our democracy.

How much does your MLA have to raise to stay in office, and how much time are they spending on that, rather than sitting in the legislature in Victoria or working in their riding offices?

In every town hall, in every riding, the question should be asked if each candidate will have their party introduce new campaign spending rules that eliminate all corporate and union donations, limit the individual donations from individuals or estates, and lastly institute a public financing of elections based on popular support from prior elections.

This is not a left or right issue, or a liberal vs conservative issue, it is about ensuring that those who represent us, do just that, represent us. If they answer that they do not believe that there should be changes, we will know that they are open to corruption and bribery, and no candidate of any political stripe should be allowed to hold office if they are.

Sean Mackinlay


Just Posted

Trail police release image of liquor store robber

The video surveillance image shows the robber aiming a black gun at the store’s clerk

More snow called for the Kootenays

Environment Canada issued the bulletin Tuesday under its “BC Traveller’s Routes forecast”

Castlegar daycare selected for univeral child care pilot program

MLA Katrine Conroy presents letter of acceptance to the program to the Children’s Centre at Selkirk College

Kootenay employers ready to meet job seekers at Black Press career fair

Dozens of companies will attend the event on Nov. 15 at the Ktunaxa Nation Building in Cranbrook

Sandblasting Silver City skate sign

The Trail Sk8 Park was closed on Thursday so workers could ready a sign for painting

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Vancouver man must pay $22,000 after breaking strata rules

Peter Gordon took his fight over his rented condo to the civil resolution tribunal, but lost

Most Read