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

UPDATED: Winston Blackmore’s appeal of polygamy charge underway

B.C. religious leader argues persecution due to religous beliefs.

Man who pledged to give B.C. hockey team millions charged with fraud

Mike Gould has since repaid $8,000 he allegedly owed Cranbrook restaurant, owner says

Concerns raised by Cranbrook Veterinarians following fatally ill dogs

Dog owners are urged to avoid the Cranbrook Community Forest after multiple dogs have fallen ill

MLA Shypitka not surprised by Site C decision

The Site C dam in the Peace River region will be moving… Continue reading

Columbia River Treaty to be renegotiated in early 2018

News came in a Tweet from the U.S. Department of State

Historic art restored at St. Eugene Church

The rejuvenation of a building of great historic and artistic significance continues at Aq’am.

WATCH: The week in review

A look at some of this week’s top stories in Cranbrook

New organization takes on distracted driving

Still in their early stages, Society Against Distracted Driving seeks to raise awareness, education

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

Truck driver volunteers to take dog lost in B.C. back home to Alberta

Frankie, a pit bull service dog, was found wandering in the Lower Mainland

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

Most Read