Campaign finance reform is important. Financing for the electoral system is a crucial aspect of the foundation of democracy. It is fundamental for holding fair-and-level elections with the system citizens use to vote for their representatives.
Whether it be first-past-the-post, mixed-member proportional, single non-transferable, or any other electoral system, if elections are primarily funded by special interest groups, then true democracy cannot be practised by the people.
ProBC understands the need for real democratic progress. For that to happen, we must ensure that BC elections have responsible funding via a balance between government subsidies and limited individual donations.
A system that allows unlimited contributions from large organisations like corporations and unions to any one candidate or party will in the end almost always put those contributors’ interests before the interests of the general public.
Such a scenario leads to a government which is no longer representative of everyday citizens but rather works to enact legislation on behalf of its largest and most influential donors, it becomes a government that represents the largest contributors rather than the people for whom elections and govern are designed.
ProBC sees this happening today as our government has a preference towards the wants of large corporations rather than the needs of everyday citizens. BC citizens must choose to either stand by and watch the continued corrosion of our democracy or stand together as citizens and demand swift progress on the issue of campaign financing.
ProBC recognises the corrupting effect special interests have on our democracy as well as its grip on our government. The current campaign finance regulations, or a lack thereof, permit special interest organisations like corporations and unions to become the guiding hand of government policy. Both in the Premier's office and with legislation passed by the Legislative Assembly.
ProBC is committed to a Province where no organisation, whether a corporation, union, or other, can make political contributions to political parties or individual candidates. This is to ensure provincial democracy and government are as useful, effective, and representative as possible for the citizens of BC, which contrasts with contemporary politics within the Province.
We need to end the direct influence of special interest organisations. That is only one step to getting back our democracy and government. We need to limit individual donations to a political party or candidate. That will help end the indirect influence of special interests.
If the organisation can’t contribute anything, and if its members can continue to donate, it would render the elimination of special interest contributions ineffective, specifically in relation to corporations.
Keeping unlimited donations would leave open a door for wealthy individuals in BC to continue where special interest organisations had left off, using their personal resources to directly influence our democracy and our government. ProBC supports limiting personal contributions to the federal standard.
ProBC supports public-funded political parties in BC through a subsidy based on tiered party membership, whereby political parties with a certain number of members would receive a certain amount of funding, before individual public donations.
This is in opposition to the Federal system. In the Federal system, public funding is directly tied to a number of votes attained by any one party during the previous election at about $2.04 per vote. Although, the system of a per-vote subsidy is much fairer than the current system in our Province. ProBC proposes a membership-based subsidy to genuinely bring fairness to BC elections.
A “tiered-member subsidy” is in direct relation to how many members a party has, whereby a new party may receive no funding until a minimum number of members is reached. After this minimum number has been surpassed, there are several tiers of public funding for different parties, at various membership levels receiving different amounts of funding, up to a maximum membership-subsidy. After this maximum membership subsidy is reached, parties cannot receive additional membership subsidies. This is apart from the number of additional party memberships.