Premier Christy Clark takes cabinet oath from Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon last week, along with 21 ministers. (TOM FLETCHER/BLACK PRESS)

Skookum bucks for B.C. Liberals

Wait until you see Christy Clark’s next money move

Financial contributions continue to pour into the B.C. Liberal Party, documented by its voluntary “real-time” disclosure that started in January and abruptly stopped at the end of May.

This has continued after the election where the B.C. Liberals lost their majority and set the stage for the “GreeNDP” rebel alliance. Now the Imperial dynasty is assembling a veritable Death Star of campaign cash.

Their last disclosure report was filed June 2 and runs 13 pages. It shows the prospect of another taste of NDP government isn’t hurting the B.C. Liberals’ bottom line.

Most of the more than 500 donations for the last week of May are from individuals, $25 here, $200 there. A few big ones jump out, such as $19,500 from Anthem Properties Group, $20,000 from Burnaby real estate lawyer Garth Evans, and $30,000 from Vancouver developer Holborn Holdings.

There’s $13,700 from the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, representing companies that mostly employ members of the Christian Labour Association of Canada. That’s the discount construction union that made a B.C. breakthrough with a hefty share of work on the Site C dam.

IATSE Local 891, the B.C. local of the international union representing movie and theatre artists and technicians, cut a cheque for $5,000 to Team Christy Clark. Other than the Steelworkers, who covered the payroll for the NDP election campaign, private sector unions have been drifting away from their historical home.

It was a good week for the B.C. Liberals with forest companies. The Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association gave $5,000, Skookumchuck Pulp Inc. pitched in $20,000, and Western Forest Products tied for the week’s biggest donation with $30,000.

Skookumchuck, north of Cranbrook, is now a division of Paper Excellence, the Indonesian-owned private corporation that bought the mill from Tembec in 2013. Paper Excellence also resurrected the pulp mill in Mackenzie and owns Howe Sound Pulp and Paper.

This impressive donation pace is one motivation for the B.C. Liberals to use delaying tactics in the legislature session that begins this week. The pitch is simple: the socialist hordes are once again at the gates, to borrow a phrase from the legendary premier W.A.C. Bennett. Only this time it’s socialism with solar panels, and the B.C. Green spending plan makes the NDP look like cheapskates.

It’s a rumour-heavy environment in the legislature these days, and here’s one of the wilder ones I’ve heard.

Clark’s throne speech is to be presented Thursday, after the much-anticipated election of a B.C. Liberal MLA as speaker. The speech will no doubt emphasize the B.C. Liberal plan to reduce Medical Services Plan premiums, which was adopted by the NDP for the election campaign and is consistent with Green leader Andrew Weaver’s idea to shift the burden to personal income tax.

The political game is to make it as awkward as possible for the NDP and Greens to vote against it. And this tactic could go further.

The B.C. Liberals can delay the crucial vote on the speech by introducing legislation, and forcing debate on that instead. They could do this multiple times.

And what legislation would be most difficult for the opposition parties to oppose? A bill to eliminate corporate and union donations. That would also be the first to be presented by a new NDP government, as it was by NDP Premier Rachel Notley in Alberta.

Could the B.C. Liberals possibly be so hypocritical as to bank another $10 million or so and then make a show of calling a halt to the corporate cash machine? Wait and see.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

Just Posted

Justice to decide court’s jurisdiction over Indigenous man

Alex Louie, also known as Senklip, is standing trial over 9 charges related to alleged gun smuggling

Penticton pilots new mobile parking payment app

Eliminating the need to carry change for parking meters

Hospital expansion will increase access to MRI scans

Profiling the people working together to keep the wheels moving at Penticton Regional Hospital

EDITORIAL: The effects of high housing costs

For those who live in the Okanagan, the cost of housing is a significant obstacle

Contenders to perform at Okanagan venues

This year, musicians Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard will be joined by Blu and Kelly Hopkins

Rally condemns violence, promotes healing

Discovery of human remains and disappearances of women have created tension in the rural community

Province grants $784,000 for Okanagan projects

Rural Dividend grants support Okanagan community projects

B.C. NDP convention set for Victoria

Premier, federal leader Jagmeet Singh to add energy

Silver Creek RCMP search expands north

RCMP were seen collecting evidence three kilometres north of the farm where human remains were found

B.C. school trustee calls LGBTQ school program ‘weapon of propaganda’

Chilliwack’s Barry Neufeld published the comments on his Facebook page

B.C. couple hope boat drone becomes first to cross Atlantic

Colin and Julie Angus of Victoria to have drone collect environmental data en route

Driver trapped for 16 hours after car flips

Member of Anarchist Mountain Volunteer Fire Department in Osoyoos made discovery while out for walk

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Most Read