Parliamentary committee makes recommendations on political party funding

THE Special Committee to Review Provisions of the Election Act has released its report on the annual allowance paid to political parties.

The annual allowance was established through legislative amendments to the Election Act. Annual allowance payments began in 2018 at $2.50 per vote received in the most recent provincial general election, with the rate decreasing in 2021 and 2022 to $1.75 per vote received.

The committee recommends the annual allowance be set at the reduced rate of $1.75 per vote in 2023 and be adjusted thereafter by the change in the Consumer Price Index for the previous year.

The all-party committee was appointed by the legislative assembly in April 2021 to review the annual allowance paid to political parties, including whether it should continue after 2022 and, if so, the amount and the number of years it should be paid. The committee held a public consultation in the spring of 2021 and heard from academic experts, stakeholders and individual British Columbians.

“Since the elimination of corporate and union donations in 2017, the annual allowance has helped political parties engage with British Columbians,” said Jagrup Brar, committee chair, on Monday. “The committee found that this allowance strengthens our democracy by levelling the playing field between political parties and keeping big money out of our politics.”

Peter Milobar, deputy chair, said: “Many presentations and submissions affirmed the view that well-functioning political parties play an important role within our democratic system. On behalf of all committee members, I would like to thank everyone who participated in the committee’s public consultation.”

It is anticipated that the committee’s report, including recommendations, will be considered for adoption by the legislative assembly in October 2021. Legislative amendments to the Election Act will be required to implement the committee’s recommendations.

The report is available online:

The members of the committee are: Jagrup Brar, MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood (chair); Peter Milobar, MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson (deputy chair); Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston; Andrew Mercier, MLA for Langley; Greg Kyllo, MLA for Shuswap; Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox; and Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.