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NDP renews call for political donation laws in ‘Wild West’

The NDP in Saskatchewan is criticizing Saskatchewan's campaign finance laws. The Canadian Press Images/Denis Beaumont

The Opposition in Saskatchewan is renewing its call to ban union and corporate donations to political parties.

Saskatchewan New Democrats say B.C. Premier Christy Clark has committed to an independent review of political financing in that province.

READ MORE: B.C. Liberals to address political party fundraising controversy with new legislation

New Democrat David Forbes says that leaves Saskatchewan as the last in the Wild West when it comes to campaign finance laws.

There are no donation limits for contributing to registered political parties or candidates in Saskatchewan but donations can only be made by Canadian citizens.

The Saskatchewan Party has received nearly $30 million in donations over the last decade – about 10 per cent came from corporations with headquarters outside Saskatchewan.

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Premier Brad Wall said last week that Saskatchewan’s current process has served the province well, so the government doesn’t see any need for change.

“Our campaign finance laws are the worst in the country and, under the Sask. Party, we’re actually falling further behind,” Forbes said Tuesday at the legislature in Regina.

“There is no good reason for the Sask. Party’s refusal to support our call to improve these important rules.”

Forbes said, until recently, Wall was the last premier in the country to take a pay top up from his party.

Clark made a similar move in January when she said that she would no longer accept her Liberal party’s $50,000 annual stipend.

Wall had been getting about $37,000 a year from the party on top of his government salary. But Wall said last week that he has asked the party to stop the payment due to negative perceptions about the allowance.

READ MORE: Premier Brad Wall to stop receiving top-up pay from Saskatchewan Party

The Saskatchewan NDP has questioned how much of that bonus money comes from out-of-province corporate donors and whether it bought access to the premier’s office.

“The people of the province deserve to know how the Sask. Party is funded and be assured that no government access or influence is being bought,” said Forbes.

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