B.C. Liberals and New Democrats at odds over Election Amendment Act

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      B.C. Liberals and New Democrats are at odds over a move to eliminate certain spending caps for candidates and political parties.

      Liberals want to scrap the 60-day pre-election campaign period, as well as the expense limits for candidates and parties that go with it, through Bill 20, or the Election Amendment Act, 2015.

      Traditionally outspent, New Democrats are crying foul, warning that this would Americanize elections in the province.

      On the sidelines is Dermod Travis, executive director of the government watchdog IntegrityBC, saying the whole thing is “a bit of a false-flag issue”.

      “The bigger problem isn’t political parties in that 60-day period spending as much money as they want,” Travis told the Straight in a phone interview. “The bigger problem is that the limits in the actual election campaign itself are so incredibly high that they have absolutely no meaning.”

      Travis was referring to the 28-day election-campaign period directly after the 60, wherein parties can spend $4.4 million each and each candidate is allowed to spend $70,000.

      With a full slate of 85, a party can burn about $10 million, translating to about $3.25 per voter, which, Travis noted, is higher than Ontario’s $2.08 and Quebec’s $1.37.

      What’s also interesting, he said, is that even with the current pre-campaign period, B.C. Liberals and New Democrats didn’t come close to the overall spending limit in the past provincial election.

      At present, a party can spend more than $1 million in the 60-day pre-campaign period, and a candidate, $70,000.

      Theoretically, a party with a full slate can spend more than $18 million combined in the pre-campaign and actual campaign periods. But as Travis noted, B.C. Liberals spent a total of $11.7 million in the 2013 election and New Democrats spent $9.4 million.

      No other province has a 60-day pre-election campaign period, and, according to Travis, there is no good argument for one in B.C. because, in practice, political parties spend huge amounts of money closer to the election.

      Comments

      1 Comments

      more fear mongering

      May 13, 2015 at 12:30pm

      The no side's greatest weapon is the yes side's insulting propaganda. "Hi, I'm Canadice, I'm Chris, we're voting yes for a better future".

      Uh-huh, and everyone is an idiot, too.

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