Green Party leader Andrew Weaver issued the following statement in response to the B.C. Liberal caucus voting against sending Bill 3 – Election Amendment Act, 2017 (designed to eliminate corporate and union donations to political parties) to committee stage after it had passed second reading:
“I am extremely disappointed that the entire Liberal caucus voted against this bill that would finally exorcise the corrosive influence of big money from our political system,” Weaver said.
“With this vote, the Liberals have indicated that they are against the core principle that we need to shift political influence away from special interests towards people. For 16 years the BC Liberals were content to personally profit from maintaining the weakest campaign finance laws in the country. Now with an opportunity to make B.C. a leader in electoral finance and put the public interest first, they choose to side with a system that gives special interests too much influence.
“The Liberals’ actions last night demonstrate precisely what is broken in B.C. politics. Instead of debating the individual aspects of the bill based on substance, the Liberals have chosen yet again to play political games. By voting to not send this bill to committee, the Liberals are saying that they are not willing to consider improving this bill. The broken two-party system in this province has led to divisive, obstructionist politics where the pressing issues facing British Columbians are devolved into sloganeering and reactionary partisan grandstanding.
“The people of British Columbia deserve better from their elected officials. Now, with three parties in the legislature and a minority government, we have an opportunity to deliver a different kind of politics – one that focuses on evidence, principles and substantive debate. It is clear that the official opposition is intent on ensuring that this doesn’t happen.
“They are desperately clinging onto an outdated sort of politics that places party and power above principles and policy. B.C. is at a crossroads – we can go down the path of the United States where big money and an entrenched two-party system has led to chaos and the degradation of democratic norms, or we can join the 33 out of 34 OECD countries in removing the undue influence of big money from our political system. I hope that as this bill moves through committee, all 87 MLAs sincerely consider the type of future we want for our province and make their decisions based on their conscience in this vital matter.”