The B.C. Liberals cash for access scandal drags on.
The party has refused to reform campaign financing laws in British Columbia, which gained it unwanted attention in the New York Times on Jan. 13. B.C. does not regulate the size or the source of donations. The party tried to put out the fire by releasing its 2016 donors’ list that afternoon, but that only added to its problems when it showed two thirds of the nearly $12.5 million raised came from corporations.
While we wait for the audited version to be released by Elections BC this spring, Premier Christy Clark continues to attend big bucks, small group fundraisers. She hosted one at Kelowna’s Mission Hill Winery for 20 people who paid $5,000 each on Jan. 26, but the party won’t say who attended. Castanet reported that attendees were shuttled into the fundraising venue in vans with tinted windows. Clark was unapologetic the morning after when reporters tracked her down in Kelowna. She also continued to peddle the myth that the Liberals are now disclosing donors in “real time” (it’s actually on a 10-day delay system) and that the NDP wants parties subsidized (they already are, indirectly, via tax credits for donors).
That $100,000 dinner at booze tycoon Anthony von Mandl’s winery was 11 months after the party raised $1.65 million in one day. Most of that came from a real estate tycoons’ dinner that a source told me happened on Feb. 23 at the Wall Centre Hotel, where Clark and Deputy Premier Rich Coleman were special guests.
The Wall Centre is also the venue that Finance Minister Mike de Jong and Kim Chan Logan, the Telus lobbyist running for the Liberals in Vancouver-Kensington, charged $250-per-person for a cocktail party on Oct. 12, 2016.
I wanted to ask de Jong why the fall session of the Legislature had been cancelled and why the party continued raising funds after Coleman told party members on Sept. 20, 2016 that the Liberals were “fully funded” for the 2017 campaign. I captured images of de Jong heartily sampling the catered goods among donors, including ex-Finance Minister Kevin Falcon of Anthem Properties. I was escorted out of the hotel.