NDP-Green alliance votes down BC Liberal donation ban bill as confidence vote looms

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A proposed bill by the BC Liberal government to ban corporate and union political donations has been defeated in the Legislature.

B.C.’s NDP and Green Parties combined to defeat the bill in Victoria on Monday, along with another that would have given the Greens official party status.

The BC Liberals, who are facing defeat on Thursday after 16 years in office, reversed course on political donations along with dozens of other policies in last week’s throne speech, after years of resisting pressure for campaign finance reform.

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Both the NDP and Green party campaigned heavily on reforming the system of political donations, and the NDP has unsuccessfully introduced six similar bills of its own.

But while both bills tabled Monday were designed to appeal to the opposition alliance, neither party is willing to divert from its focus on forcing a confidence vote to bring down the government.

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On his way into the House, Green Leader Andrew Weaver explained why his party would vote the bills down, sight unseen.

“We’ve been very clear, what’s important is the very first thing that we do is we test the confidence of the House,” Weaver said.

READ MORE: Power hangs in the balance following Throne Speech at the B.C. Legislature

NDP Leader John Horgan echoed that sentiment in Question Period, taking aim at Premier Christy Clark.

“When will she put the politics aside, when will she say and conceded that 44 is larger number than 43. Let’s have a vote let’s have a confidence motion.”

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Both party status for the Greens and a ban on corporate and union donations are elements of a power-sharing agreement signed by the opposition parties in May.

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Finance Minister and Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong, who introduced the proposed donation ban bill, denied Monday that the move was a delay tactic to stave off the impending confidence vote.

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“We have heard umpteen times over the course of the last few years that this is the kind of thing that can be dealt with in the course of a day. If that is so, it strikes me that we should be able to accommodate that between now and Thursday.”

Premier Christy Clark, for her part, used her time in Question Period to frame her government’s anticipated defeat as a question of political stability.

“Let’s avoid the risk of an election, let’s make sure that we pass the Throne Speech, one that again was sincerely intended to garner the support of members across ideological lines in this House,” she said.

The New Democrats and Greens have an agreement to combine their seats total to out-vote the Liberals on matters of confidence, which includes the throne speech.

Last month’s election saw the Liberals win 43 seats in B.C.’s 87-seat legislature, but the NDP and the Greens together have 44 seats, which they plan to use to defeat the Liberals and form a minority NDP government.

The vote is expected Thursday afternoon.

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  • With files from Liza Yuzda and the Canadian Press

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