Just when you think politics in BC can’t get any weirder…
Last week, the BC Liberals held a $125-a-ticket political fundraiser in Calgary. Premier Clark may have picked a fight with Alberta’s Premier over the Enbridge pipeline, but Alberta’s business elite publicly admitted they are more afraid of the NDP than they are the Liberal Premier.
The Premier’s justification for going out of province to fundraise is that Alberta business leaders have a vested interest in BC politics and they have the right to protect that interest with their money. That rationalization proves political donations are to buy influence, providing more evidence that we must reform our election finance laws.
The NDP’s response to this fundraiser was to confirm that they too accept out-of-province donations.
BC elections should only be influenced by BC voters. That principle should apply to both votes and political donations. Only BC residents and only individuals (not corporations or unions) should be allowed to donate to BC’s political parties.
BC’s political weirdness continued with the announcement that as much as $12 million of taxpayer money will be spent to host a Bollywood awards gala within weeks of the provincial election in May. The claimed potential return to the BC economy: as little as $13 million, little more than we’ll invest in the event. The South Asian community is a large and growing voting bloc in urban and suburban BC. This is clearly an attempt to use your tax money to buy those votes.
The NDP’s response to the cost of this event was lackluster compared to their criticism of government advertising. They want to attract the South Asian vote too, so they’re not attacking the fundamental question of whether hosting the Times of India Movie Awards is an appropriate way to spend tax money.
It’s no wonder people don’t like paying taxes: British Columbians’ hard-earned money is being spent on events they could never afford to attend, even as public services are being cut by a government that claims it’s broke. Tax money should be spent on public services, not galas for BC’s and India’s elites.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.