B.C. bans union and corporate donations in recall campaigns, opposition calls it conflict of interest
B.C. Attorney General David Eby has introduced legislation that would ban corporate and union donations as well as restrict advertising rules for recall campaigns. But the opposition says this is a conflict of interest because Eby himself is the target of a recall campaign.
“Recall campaigns have the potential of removing people from elected office, and it’s only fair that the rules for elections apply to recall campaigns as well,” Eby said.
“Following the changes our government made last year, this legislation will ensure that we remove the influence of big money for those in favour and opposed to a recall of an MLA.”
Under the Recall and Initiative Act, citizens have up to 60 days to gather signatures and submit the petition for verification in order to remove an elected MLA.
A voter can only petition to recall the MLA for the electoral riding in which they are registered to vote. The voter must collect signatures from more than 40 per cent of voters eligible to sign the petition in that electoral district.
Right now there are no restrictions as to who can contribute to recall campaigns or how much they can contribute.
But BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson says that Eby is only protecting himself by changing the rules.
“David Eby introduced this recall amendment act, it might as well be called the David Eby Protection Act,” said Wilkinson.
“There is a very active campaign against him in his riding because people are fed up with him. The recall campaign against David Eby can start in three weeks. Isn’t it convenient this was introduced now to protect his own rear end?”
If passed, the new rules would limit individuals to less than $1,200 annually for any combination of recall and political contributions.
British Columbia is the only Canadian jurisdiction that provides a legislative framework for voters to remove an elected member from office. Recall petitions cannot be initiated until at least 18 months after an MLA is elected. That would make Nov. 13 the earliest opportunity to apply to recall an MLA elected in last May’s provincial election.
A B.C. MLA has never been recalled under the existing legislation.
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