B.C. Liberal Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell (Black Press files)

B.C. Liberals plan to restrict donations, raise welfare rates

Throne speech set for Thursday, government would fall on opposition vote

The B.C. Liberal government is preparing to propose new restrictions on campaign donations and offer an increase in income assistance rates in its throne speech set for Thursday.

Facing a united opposition of B.C. NDP and B.C. Green MLAs that can defeat the government in a confidence vote, the B.C. Liberals are preparing a throne speech that Premier Christy Clark has indicated will reflect the results of the election.

B.C. Liberal Social Development Minister Michelle Stilwell spoke to reporters Monday, but offered no details of increased social assistance rates. Unnamed sources suggest the Christy Clark government is planning to match the NDP campaign pledge to raise income assistance rates by $100 a month, the first increase in temporary income assistance in a decade.

In addition to increasing temporary social assistance rates, the plan proposes an expansion of the government’s single parent employment program, which covers daycare, training and transportation costs for single parents on income assistance to make a transition to employment.

The increase in temporary assistance rates would be estimated to cost $31 million in the current fiscal year and $53 million for the full year of 2018-19.

NDP social development critic Selina Robinson said the sudden conversion after years of refusing income assistance increases is the act of a government desperately trying to hold onto power.

The B.C. Liberal Party stopped its voluntary reporting of donations effective the end of May, as significant corporate, union and personal donations continued after the uncertain result of the May 9 election.

READ: B.C. Liberal donations piling up

B.C. Liberal MLA Andrew Wilkinson, a former party president appointed last week as justice minister, confirmed Monday that the reform will be presented in the throne speech. He said the sudden reversal of the government’s stance on donations is a result of what candidates heard during the election campaign.

“It became pretty clear during the election campaign that our plan to have this reviewed by an expert panel was not going to be quick enough,” Wilkinson said. “It’s the conclusion of people in British Columbia that it’s time to get corporate and union donations out of party financing, and so we’re prepared to move ahead with that.”

A limit on personal donations will be part of the plan, but Wilkinson said the amount won’t be revealed until the throne speech. Federal rules limit campaign donations to individuals, up to $1,275 a year, with a maximum tax credit of $650.

Banning corporate and union donations was a demand of both opposition parties from long before the election, to which the B.C. Liberals responded only with voluntary disclosure and a promise of an independent review.

Just Posted

Young PIB man skips jail time for grad party assault

Aaron Jack-Kroeger was sentenced to a 15-month conditional sentence in Penticton’s courthouse

Angels at The Mule

Penticton nightclub introduces angel shots for safety

Honesty turns to harsher jail sentence for Penticton man

Jakob Holmes kicked a cop in the face while she was on the ground after she attempted to arrest him

Update: Fire at Osoyoos business believed to have started on lower level

A fire started on Sunday night at the East Indian Meat Shop and fruit stand

Tagger causes $30,000 damage

Penticton looking for help finding person responsible for graffiti

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Dryer explosion at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Most Read