Campaign Reform Law Needs Teeth If BC Wants To Get Big Money Out Of Politics

By Alex Sangha

The provincial election is around the corner.  Is it going to be a fair election?  Is there going to be a level playing field for all the candidates and the political parties?

I would say no!

Premier Christy Clark has already stated she is open to campaign finance reform after the election, but she has already ruled out replacing private donations with public subsidies.

What does this actually mean?

This means that corporations, the rich, lobbyists, and third party advertisers will continue to have a huge influence on the election outcome.

This scews the election results in favour of the political and economic elite instead of the poor, working, and middle class.

By ruling out public subsidies the political candidates and political parties will have to rely even more on private donations.

No one gives money for nothing.  With every donation there is an expectation that certain policies will be enacted.

In other words our political system is “up for sale” to the highest bidder.  The system is set up for special interests to officially rule the people.  The citizens are just lucky we have a vote once every few years. And even then the media is usually biased and supporting corporatist political parties.

No wonder the poor don’t have a say on anything.  They have no money or influence.

Is it any surprise that we are still the only province in Canada paying for MSP premiums and that disability benefits have not had a significant increase for years?

Of course it’s not a surprise.

These issues are not a priority for the government. The political system at every level is held hostage by big money, partisan politics, and special interest groups such as by real estate developers, corporate lobbyists, as well as labour.

There needs to be a direct connection from the citizens to the elected official without all these special interests trying to skew the outcome of the election or trying to influence the voting intentions and platforms of the candidates.

The end result would be elected officials who would be truly independent and can vote with their conscious and what is best for the citizens and their community.

I don’t believe in complaining about something without proposing a solution for people to consider.

I believe there is a way to make politics more democratic, competitive, and accessible for the rest of us.


It’s a simple six-step electoral reform plan that attempts to create a level playing field for all political candidates and would involve the

following changes:

RESIDENCY – A candidate would have to live in the riding he or she hopes to represent for at-least two years prior to the election.  This means a candidate who does not know anything about the community cannot be parachuted into the riding at the last minute.

NOMINATION – A candidate would have to be nominated by 25 citizens who live in the riding he or she hopes to represent.

DEPOSIT –  A candidate would pay a deposit to a private bank in exchange for a campaign loan.  The loan would be capped at a legislated maximum.

RECEIPTS – A candidate would submit his or her campaign receipts to the bank after the election.

REIMBURSEMENT – The elections office would reimburse banks for all official campaign expenses from official candidates up to a pre-set maximum amount, which would be the same for all candidates.  The candidate would not have to repay the loan if his or her campaign abided by the rules of the election and did not violate any campaign finance regulations.  If the candidate violated the campaign finance rules he or she would forfeit their deposit.

CANDIDATE PROFILES – The elections office would produce an elections website that would list the biographies, community experience, education, employment, and qualifications of all the candidates. This would provide an unbiased source of information for the voters to quickly compare candidates without media influence.

This simple six-step electoral reform plan would essentially eliminate big money in politics!.

Politics would shift from the political and economic and corporate elite to the people.

Any citizen including the poor and working class could afford to run for office.  The elections would be more democratic and accessible.

And there it is!

This six-step, electoral reform plan would be a huge step forward in ensuring that the best interests of all citizens are reflected in government policy and decision-making.

It would reduce the influence that big money and corporations currently have on the political process.

Alex Sangha is an award winning social worker and author.  He has an MSc in Public Administration and Public Policy from the Department of Government from the London School of Economics. For more information onAlex check out http://alexsangha.com <http://alexsangha.com

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