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Harbinger

Dix wants to ban Corporate and Union Donations to political parties

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B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix will ban corporate and union donations to political parties if elected.

On the eve of the kickoff of his election campaign, Dix stood with four would-be MLAs at Vancouver’s Roundhouse Community Centre and admitted some of his union brethren may not be happy.

“This is a major reform of politics in British Columbia,” said Dix. “I think this is good for the business community and the labour movement as well. Groups will continue to support political parties but will not be involved in fundraising.”

Dix was asked about Premier Christy Clark’s $100,000 TV appearance which is set to air on Sunday night: “I think that’s fair. I think that’s fine. The Liberals will get a lot of attention for what they do tonight.”

Dix said his intention is to limit conflicts of interest with huge donors, but said how political parties choose to spend the money they raise is up to them.

In a press release, B.C. Conservative Party leader John Cummins said his party fully supports the proposal.

“Over two years ago, when I first declared my candidacy for the leadership of the B.C. Conservatives, I pledged that we would ban corporate and union donations,” said Cummins. “I have long believed that special interests, insiders and cronies have had too much influence in politics.”

Dix noted that the federal government has banned such donations — a point seized upon by B.C. Liberal MLA Mary Polak as condoning taxpayer funding of political parties.

“We disagree with the use of taxpayer money to fund political parties, it’s not the way to control spending and make sure that we’re growing the economy,” Polak said in a release. “It’s very concerning that the NDP are trying to hide this important detail.”

While Dix makes the case that the corporate/union ban is about integrity, the policy would appear to represent a major shift in financial power in the direction of his own party.

Statistics show that in 2012 the B.C. Liberals raised about $10 million while the B.C. NDP raised $7 million — in effect a $3-million advantage to the Liberals.

However, if everything else remained the same, taking union and corporate donations out of the mix would have left the B.C. Liberals with $5 million, and the B.C. NDP with $5.4 million — a $400,000 advantage for the NDP.

B.C. Green Party leader Jane Sterk told The Province she supports the policy, even though she notes it would help the NDP.

“I think it’s great if he’s going to follow through with that,” said Sterk. “I hope he’s doing it for the right reasons — the NDP has always had a lot of contributions from individuals.”

Sterk said the Greens would like to see each individual’s donations limited to $2,500 per year, to prevent, for example, business or union leaders from replacing the huge corporate and union donations with huge “individual” donations in their own name.

Dix said if he becomes premier he will strike a legislative committee on campaign reform with representation from all political parties with more than five per cent of the 2013 popular vote, as well as any elected independent MLAs.

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552x656px-LL-3a98e8d2_best-idea-ever.jpeg

It would be nice to see political parties not in the back pocket of big corporations. This is a long time coming.

Of course, knowing corporate scumbags they'll find a loophole somewhere.

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It would be nice to see political parties not in the back pocket of big corporations. This is a long time coming.

Of course, knowing corporate scumbags they'll find a loophole somewhere.

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Is that even constitutional? Would it apply to third party advertising that seems to dominate the airwaves?

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I think it's easy to be in this position if you're not the one receiving much of those donations to begin with.

What am I voting for if I'm voting for Dix anyway?

So far, spending money on teachers - great. What else?

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552x656px-LL-3a98e8d2_best-idea-ever.jpeg

It would be nice to see political parties not in the back pocket of big corporations. This is a long time coming.

Of course, knowing corporate scumbags they'll find a loophole somewhere.

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This is a pipe dream and the reality is that ALL political parties will be swayed by money. Historically, that has always been the case and on a micro level, money can corrupt the individual.

I don't see how a party can be incorruptible, despite these 'rules'.

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This is a pipe dream and the reality is that ALL political parties will be swayed by money. Historically, that has always been the case and on a micro level, money can corrupt the individual.

I don't see how a party can be incorruptible, despite these 'rules'.

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sTwo areas of contention.

Taxpayer funded donations. I am fundamentally opposed to political parties being funded by taxpayers. I support a political party of my choice by donation of my choice. Nothing rankled me more than the federal system where my tax dollars were going to fund the Bloc Quebecois who were dedicated to breaking up Canada. If a party cannot get its support from its members and donors, then too bad so sad.

What about "volunteer" work - work in kind? This is a huge advantage for the BC NDP.

As we have seen in the past when the BC NDP broke the law on participating in elections, much of that stemmed from unions having their paid staff seconded by the BC NDP as volunteers we saw with the recall campaigns. Another area where Adrian Dix was forced to admit he broke the law after being outed by a BC NDP field operative after Clark and Dix continually denied his unlawful participation.

As Vaughn Palmer wrote on January 19, 2011 in a column on Dix and his time as chief political operative and fixer for Glen Clark and notes that Adrian Dix does not come to the table as the saying goes "with clean hands":

When the New Democrats faced a trio of recall campaigns against their MLAs in the late 1990s, then premier Glen Clark called, as he usually did, on the skills and drive of his chief political operative Adrian Dix.

Dix put together what proved to be a successful effort to quash the recallers, lining up support and resources from NDP headquarters and the trade union movement.

He did most of this by phone, though twice he visited the key battleground of Prince George at his own expense. He also persuaded government staffers to go into the field on their own time, while facilitating an arrangement that saw the labour movement quietly cover several thousand dollars' worth of travel expenses.

All this had to be done on the sly. The NDP-authored recall legislation imposed strict spending limits. And the NDP line was that local MLAs were unfairly targeted by dark forces -- "outsiders, special interests, lobby groups" -- from beyond their ridings.

Accordingly, Clark denied the role of his own office in stage-managing the fight. "Mr. Dix has a job in Victoria," he told the legislature. "He was not involved in the recall campaigns in those ridings."

Only after an NDP field operative blew the whistle to the news media did the truth come out. "I had quite a bit of involvement," Dix conceded.

Not only then and there. A review of the files finds Dix playing a central role in many of the controversies in the Clark era.

http://www2.canada.com/vancouversun/columnists/story.html?id=faceb1c9-761f-4bcb-a2c3-e002230f2521&p=1

If find Dix's concern about conflict of interest laughable given the BC NDP Constitution guarantees unions credentialed delegates at Conventions.

10.10.2. Calculation of delegate credential entitlement for affiliated organizations will be based upon the following:

• For an affiliated union, whether that affiliation is through the union’s local, provincial or national office, delegate entitlement will be calculated by aggregating all affiliated individual members from all affiliated locals of the union or through regionally based organizations as approved by Provincial Executive.

http://www.bcndp.ca/files/uploads/Constitution_2009.pdf

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"Dix noted that the federal government has banned such donations — a point seized upon by B.C. Liberal MLA Mary Polak as condoning taxpayer funding of political parties.

"We disagree with the use of taxpayer money to fund political parties, it's not the way to control spending and make sure that we're growing the economy," Polak said in a release. "It's very concerning that the NDP are trying to hide this important detail."

WOW.  Given the amount of tax payer money the BC Liberials have spent on thinly vailed campaign ads such as the BC jobs plan ads the above quote is so ironic it's sickening.

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sTwo areas of contention.

Taxpayer funded donations. I am fundamentally opposed to political parties being funded by taxpayers. I support a political party of my choice by donation of my choice. Nothing rankled me more than the federal system where my tax dollars were going to fund the Bloc Quebecois who were dedicated to breaking up Canada. If a party cannot get its support from its members and donors, then too bad so sad.

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The day somebody ACTUALLY figures out how to remove money and power from politics is the day we will see truly representative, smart governing of and for the people. That day is sadly a LOOOOOOONNNNNNG ways off if it ever comes.

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And under the heading of its deja vu all over again... all blast from the discredited past of Glen Clark/Adrian Dix era:

Mike Smyth@MikeSmythNews 23m

Dix promises "Jobs Protection Commissioner" for forestry. Uh-oh, getting deja vu of Glen Clark's "Jobs and Timber Accord." Fail.

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Great idea. But seeing how the BC Liberals like to operate covertly and skirt the rules (Ethnic Vote Scandal) I'm sure they will find a way around this also.

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Great idea. But seeing how the BC Liberals like to operate covertly and skirt the rules (Ethnic Vote Scandal) I'm sure they will find a way around this also.

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Don't kid yourselves. NDP has been skirting the rules, as has any other party in Canada historically.

No party is squeaky clean, aside from maybe the Green Party.

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