The risk taken by the B.C. Greens has paid off.
When the party decided last year not to accept donations from corporations and labour unions, it faced the danger of losing revenue for its next election campaign.
But as Green leader and Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver recalls, it was the right thing to do.
“We put our trust in the people of B.C., and the people of B.C. responded in droves,” Weaver stated in a media release about the historic fundraising record set by the party.
The B.C. Greens raised $763,667 in 2016, a 93 percent increase over the party’s 2015 revenue.
“When the B.C. Green Party banned corporate and union donations in September, we knew it was a risk, but we did it because it was the right thing to do,” Weaver said in the news release Monday (January 16).
Weaver announced the ban in his address before delegates of the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) convention on September 28, 2016.
“Real leadership doesn’t come from doing what is easy,” the lone Green MLA said in his speech at the UBCM event. “It is built on doing what is right. We are a party of the people, for the people and that will be mirrored in our funding structure.”
The B.C. Liberal Party and the B.C. NDP accept corporate and union donations.
B.C. NDP leader John Horgan has said that his party will no longer take money from corporations and labour groups if it wins the next provincial election on May 9 this year.
The citizen organization Dogwood lauded Weaver’s announcement at the UBCM convention as an example that the Greens are heeding the wishes of the people.
Polling by Insights West for Dogwood has shown that 81 percent of B.C. Liberal supporters and 91 percent of B.C. NDP followers want an end to corporate and union donations before the next election.
In the media release, the Green Party noted that it raised more than its entire 2015 revenue in the last three months of 2016 after it banned corporate and union donations.
According to Weaver, this provinces that “politics for the people can set a positive new course for British Columbia”.
Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Green Party deputy leader and candidate for Cowichan Valley, said in the news release that fundraising success puts the Greens “on a path for major breakthroughs in the May election”.
Furstenau noted that 75 percent of donors in 2016 contributed after the September 28 announcement made by Weaver regarding a ban on corporate and union donations.
“British Columbians are rallying around a party that puts its principles first, rather than seeking power at any cost,” Furstenau said.
In its first official campaign update for this year’s election, B.C. Green executive director Laura Gavin stated Monday (January 16) that the party is “in a great position to win new ridings”.
According to Gavin, 41 percent of the donations received since banning corporate and union donations were from first-time donors to the Greens.