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B.C. NDP finishes first half of 2018 with most money raised in the province

NDP Leader John Horgan campaigned on a promise to get rid of union and corporate political donations.
NDP Leader John Horgan campaigned on a promise to get rid of union and corporate political donations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The new world of political donations seems to be benefiting the B.C. NDP.

In the first six months of 2018, the NDP raised $1,257,225.28 compared to $747,716.79 for the Liberals and $271,192.48 for the Green Party. The donations are solely from individuals after the provincial government banned union and corporate political donations.

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

The NDP announced the ban on Sept 13. 2017, and from that day until when the bill became law on November 30, 2017, the NDP raked in political donations. Over the nearly three-month period, the NDP received $3,154,235 in donations over the period, compared to $813,833 for the Liberals and $80,532 for the Green Party.

The union and corporate donations from that period cannot be used in future election campaigns because of the new law, but can be used toward other party expenses.

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“Our fundraising has continued to increase year over year,” said Green Party leader Weaver. “We are very excited by the fact we are meeting our goals and that union and corporate donations have been banned. It is really about people supporting people.”

READ MORE: In the dying days of B.C.’s ‘wild west,’ developers helped kick millions to the NDP and Liberals

Individual donations are capped for individuals at $1,200 a year. The cap is much smaller than the $5,000 the B.C. Liberals proposed in similar legislation. Quebec has the lowest cap in the country at $100 per person.

“Today’s Interim Financing Report shows that we are still learning and improving our fundraising efforts in BC’s new political fundraising environment,” said Liberal Party president Don Silversides. “While there is still work to do, our members are energized after having elected a new leader earlier this year, and I am encouraged by the results that we have achieved together.”

As part of the new rules, the parties also received an annual allowance from public funds based on how the parties did in the last provincial election. The B.C. Liberals receive $995,965.00, the NDP $993,882.50 and the Greens $415,483.75 every six months.

The taxpayer funding is a ‘transition’ according to NDP communications director Glen Sanford and will be phased out after four years.

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“It is really clear that all of the parties as we move to a system where only individuals can donate are going to have to work really hard to earn trust, respect and donations from individuals,” said Sanford. “It is really humbling and gratifying to see British Columbians chip in whatever they can to support the B.C. NDP.”

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