Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington introduced legislation on Thursday to outlaw “cash-for-access” fundraisers, and take action on campaign finance reform.
“British Columbians have been having these conversations for years and are waiting for action,” said Huntington. “It’s time we got on with it.”
The issue of “cash-for-access” reared its head in 2016 when it was revealed donors were paying $10,000 for private dinners with the premier. Huntington’s “cash-for-access” legislation would ban the premier, cabinet ministers and their staff from attending political fundraisers, soliciting donations, and inviting anyone to attend political fundraisers.
“People are genuinely disturbed by politicians selling access,” said Huntington. “It has created a strong sense among voters that only the wealthy have the ear of the government.”
Huntington added that even the perception of a conflict of interest is usually considered improper, and selling access is a violation of that imperative.
untington also re-introduced legislation that would ban corporate and union donations, cap political donations at $1,500 a year, and limit donations to individual British Columbians only. The legislative changes would affect both B.C.’s provincial and municipal elections.
“We know what the problems are,” said Huntington. “We need to ban big money from B.C. politics and we need to ban ‘cash for access.’ These bills answer that call.”
“Democracy is hurting in British Columbia, and we need to change the way things are done,” said Huntington. “When you change the financing rules, you change the incentive structure for how decisions are made by government.”
After extensive reflection, I have made the difficult decision that I cannot run in the upcoming provincial election. This was not a conclusion reached lightly and has been one of the most difficult decisions of my professional career.
Here’s one for the “are you kidding me” file. A freedom of information request filed by my office revealed a government plan to use a two-week “Model UN” conference for bureaucrats to make binding policy decisions.