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Campaign Financing Rules in BC and Federally

April 6, 2013

A Huffington Post article today reported that outside groups spent over $1B in last year’s US presidential election, largely without transparency and oversight.  Closer to home, the Vancouver Park Board recently passed a motion calling on the BC provincial government to implement campaign finance reform;  their motion was endorsed by Integrity BC, which has a petition underway calling for such reforms.

Since the upcoming provincial election campaign is due to kick off shortly, we thought it would be timely to review the current state of campaign finance regulations in BC, Canada and in Vancouver (where both the Park Board and City Council have called on the provincial government to enact reforms).  The following table summarizes the main features of campaign finance regulations at these three levels of government:

Canada BC Vancouver
Union/Corporate/Foreign Donations Not allowed Allowed;  NDP plans to ban union & corp donations Allowed
Contribution Caps ~$1000/person (inflation-adjusted) Only on total from anonymous donors none
Spending Caps ~$0.70/registered voter/party $6M/party, $146k/candidate (includes pre-campaign period) none
Donor Disclosure Above $200 per candidate Above $250 Post-election (check Vancouver Sun database to see donors)
Public Funding Tax credit to donors, expense reimbursement, direct subsidy (being phased out) Tax credit to donor none
Third Party Spending $3000/riding; $150k total; no restrictions on contributions Caps, no minimum no rules
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