B.C New Democrats are promising to ban union and corporate donations to political parties if they are elected to power in the provincial election next month.
Party leader Adrian Dix announced the commitment at a news conference on Sunday, adding that as premier he would strike a legislative committee to make recommendations on other issues around the financing of politics in B.C. The committee would include representatives of all parties that earned more than five per cent of the popular vote when voters go to the polls on May. 14. Mr. Dix said the group would be organized to begin its work in fall, 2013 and report by Oct. 1, 2014.
In recently released financial reports, corporate donations in 2012 accounted for about 50 per cent of donations to the B.C. Liberals. Trade unions gave New Democrats about 23 per cent of their total contributions.
Mr. Dix, who framed the promise as a bid to ease public cynicism about politics, acknowledged the move would affect all parties, including his own which has had committed union support.
However, he suggested all parties, including the B.C NDP, would adjust to the new status quo.
He said the NDP would pass the legislation in a fall sitting of the legislature and the ban would take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
The announcement came as B.C Liberals were preparing for the airing of a 30-minute TV broadcast at 7 p.m PT to make their pitch for a fourth term.
The Liberals are paying $100,000 for the airtime on Global TV.
Mr. Dix denied his donations announcement was a bid to pre-empt the Liberals.
The NDP leader said he had no issue with the Liberals TV splash, but wouldn't be watching because he does not have cable at home.