Advertisement

BC NDP and Greens defend taxpayer ‘allowance’ to ban big money

Click to play video 'BC NDP and Greens defend taxpayer ‘allowance’ to ban big money' BC NDP and Greens defend taxpayer ‘allowance’ to ban big money
Tues, Sept 19: BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and B.C.'s Attorney General David Eby talk about breaking the BC NDP's promise that a subsidy would not be involved in their efforts to get big money out of politics – Sep 19, 2017

BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says his party isn’t responsible for the per-vote subsidy that will see taxpayers hand over $27.5-million to political parties over the next four years.

“I realize a lot of people think this was a Green initiative. Actually, it wasn’t.”

READ MORE: B.C. political parties to get taxpayer funding under NDP donation ban

Speaking on The Jon McComb Show on CKNW, Weaver said a subsidy and transition allowance is “best practice”, adding that it’s seen in systems across Canada and around the world.

LISTEN: Jon McComb talks to BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver
Story continues below advertisement

Weaver also tried to say the new legislation doesn’t benefit the Greens.

“Actually the BC Green Party is hardly affected at all because we do not accept union and corporate donations. And the amount that we would get through this provisional transitional allowance is almost identical to now what we get through thousands and thousands of people donating small amounts.”

READ MORE: B.C. NDP introduce legislation to ban big money in politics, includes corporate and union donation ban

“But you’re going to get almost $3-million over the next four years,” McComb pointed out. “Yes we, yes I believe that’s correct,” said Weaver.

Weaver says political parties have structures in place, and without transition money, there would be chaos.

WATCH: Political fundraising under scrutiny in B.C.

Click to play video 'Political fundraising under scrutiny in B.C.' Political fundraising under scrutiny in B.C.
Political fundraising under scrutiny in B.C – Mar 13, 2017

Meanwhile, B.C.’s Attorney General side-stepped questions about what led to a BC NDP campaign flip-flop on per vote subsidies.

Story continues below advertisement

David Eby wouldn’t tell McComb why Premier John Horgan broke his promise that a subsidy would not be involved in their efforts to get big money out of politics.

LISTEN: Jon McComb talks to Attorney General David Eby

But Eby argued that under the existing system, subsidies already exist in the form of tax breaks to corporations and unions.

“Your tax dollars are already going to fund the existing system, where big money runs the province,” said Eby.

He denied the change of heart was due to the BC Greens.

“The bill that has been put forward is an NDP bill. We’re putting it forward. It’s the bill as we would like it to pass. We’re hopeful that the Green Party supports it.”

WATCH: John Horgan addresses the issue:

Click to play video 'B.C. premier addresses taxpayer funded donations' B.C. premier addresses taxpayer funded donations
B.C. premier addresses taxpayer funded donations – Sep 19, 2017

READ MORE: B.C. NDP takes heat over prospect of donation ban delay

Story continues below advertisement

Eby said the Greens will give feedback on the bill, as accounted for in the Confidence and Supply agreement.

But McComb questioned why taxpayers should subsidize political parties. “That’s the NDP’s problem and Liberal Party’s problem and the Green Party’s problem. It’s not my problem, and yet my money, my tax money, is going to fund your transition so that you guys aren’t uncomfortable or left without,” said McComb.

But Eby said it’s important to recognize the allowance is only temporary.

Premier John Horgan also defended the bill, “I am unapologetic about wanting to get big money out of politics. I am unapologetic for having a transition fund that will be gone by the next election.”

Horgan said he looks forward to having the discussing the bill in the legislature.

~With files from Liza Yuzda