Attorney General

Province moves to ban big money from recall campaigns

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Attorney General

Province moves to ban big money from recall campaigns

Media Contacts
Media Relations
Ministry of Attorney General
778 678-1572
Media Contacts
Media Relations
Ministry of Attorney General
778 678-1572

Backgrounders

Summary of proposed amendments to the Recall and Initiative Act

Authorized Participants:

The authorized participants in a recall are the proponent of the recall petition and the MLA who is the subject of the recall.

The proposed amendments to the Recall and Initiative Act would do the following:

  • Prohibit concurrent recall petitions in a single electoral district. Currently, there can be more than one recall petition circulating in a district at any given time, which could be used to unfairly increase spending limits.
  • Restrict recall contributions to authorized participants so that they may be made only by eligible individuals, i.e., Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are also residents of British Columbia.
  • Limit recall contributions to proponents and MLAs to $1,200 in a calendar year. This is the same contribution limit for political contributions in the Election Act.
  • Provide that contributions from an eligible individual to an MLA facing a recall must not exceed $1,200 alone or in combination with any political contributions made in that calendar year to the MLA’s political party or constituency association.
  • Require advertising sponsors to obtain from contributors a confirmation that the contributor is an eligible individual, and consent to use a contribution for recall advertising.
  • Provide for transfers of money from an MLA’s political party or constituency association to the MLA for the purpose of the recall campaign. Currently, these transfers are permitted but are classified as recall contributions.
  • Require loans for proponents and MLAs to be obtained only from financial institutions at a rate of interest no lower than prime rate.
  • Prohibit applications for recall petition during the six months immediately before general voting day for a scheduled general election.

Third-party advertising sponsors:

A third-party advertising sponsor is any individual or organization that engages in recall advertising. Currently, recall advertising applies only to advertising during a recall petition period to promote or oppose, directly or indirectly, the recall of an MLA who is the subject of the petition.

The proposed amendments would do the following:

  • Expand the definition of recall advertising to include paid canvassing and direct mail, similar to the definition in the Election Act.
  • Require recall advertising sponsors to be independent of the petition proponent and the MLA who is subject of the recall, with the exception of the political party the MLA represents.
  • Require advertising sponsors to obtain from contributors a confirmation that the contributor is an eligible individual, and consent to use a contribution for recall advertising, as in the Election Act.
  • Limit recall contributions to third-party advertising sponsors to $1,200 in a calendar year.  This is the same contribution limit for advertising sponsorship contributions in the Election Act.
  • Limit spending by recall advertising sponsors to $5,000 during a 60-day recall petition period.
  • Require anyone who engages in direct recall advertising (i.e., explicitly advocating the recall of an MLA at any time outside a petition period) to register with Elections BC and report their expenses and contributions, similar to the rules for the pre-campaign period under the Election Act.

Other amendments:

The amendments would also:

  • Update requirements regarding the responsibilities of financial agents and the content of financing reports for all participants.
  • Create monetary penalties similar in scale to Election Act monetary penalties that may be imposed by the chief electoral officer.
  • Update the offence provisions to include the new rules and restrictions and increase the maximum fine from $5,000 to $10,000.
  • Provide the chief electoral officer with regulation-making authority.

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