Questions By Members, 20 April 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Business donations to political parties and government contracts

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.

I listened with great interest yesterday during Question Period when our Premier disclosed his government’s intent to look at how political parties are financed in this province.

The rules surrounding election financing can how a profound effect on governance and I’m delighted that we’re finally going to look at our currently very lax regulations.

In 2014, a non-election year, the Liberal Party of Prince Edward Island received 54% of its $522,000 in donations from businesses, and the Progressive Conservative Party received 58% of their 286,000 from businesses.

These are very often the companies that receive government contracts.

A question to the Premier: Does this situation concern you?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Mr. Speaker, as I said in response to the question yesterday, it’s the intent of government to table a bill before this sitting is completed, and in doing so we will give consideration to patterns or precedents that have developed in other jurisdictions across the country.

One of the questions that will be considered – in fact, it’s one that comes to the fore when considering legislation of this type – is: Who should be eligible to make political contributions? That’s something that will be included in that bill and a point on which we will welcome input from others in this House and beyond.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, first supplementary.

End of corporate and union donations to political parties

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Yesterday the Premier alluded to the federal election financing rules as perhaps a model for the proposed reforms here on Prince Edward Island. Under the federal rules corporate and union donations are not allowed.

A question to the Premier: Will you be ending corporate and union donations to political parties on Prince Edward Island?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Mr. Speaker.

That bill is still in the process of development, but I stand by what I said yesterday, that the federal regime is one, I think, to which we should be giving close consideration.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, second supplementary.

Per-vote subsidy

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Until very recently that federal regime, under Mr. Harper, allowed federal parties to be funded on a per-vote subsidy. That was rescinded by Mr. Harper. However, many experts believe that that method is the best way to ensure a robust and a fair democracy in our country, and therefore in our province.

If we want to be leaders in democratic reform, as our Premier has clearly stated he wishes Prince Edward Island to be, can he inform this House as to whether a per-vote subsidy is being considered in the proposed changes?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, what’s anticipated is that a bill will be tabled and then the members of this House and the public and the political parties will have an opportunity to give that some consideration and deliberation, and that in the fullness of time – I believe that means by the time we return here in the fall – the House will be in a better position to address the issue that has just been raised by the Leader of the Third Party, as well as other issues that are involved in political reform.

I look forward to bringing that forward and to engaging with colleagues here in the House and with Islanders as to the best approach that Prince Edward Island should take in dealing with political financing.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

2 Comments

  1. Walter Wilkins 22 April 2016 at 10:45 am

    Give the premier’s penchant for equivocation and for saying, ” . . . as I said yesterday” it’s all the more reason to ask good questions today. So, “in the fullness of time” let’s hope questions like this will help the transparency promised to materialize.

     
  2. Bill Kays 22 April 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Really only one question is of importance to my grandchildren and that question is “What measures have been taken to protect the public purse”? Money seems to be the basis for all or most questions. Most of those questions relate to our current and past governments’ management of the public purse.The Premier, while being quite profound at offering bull shit answers to good questions, is about the worst Premier this province has seen for telling Islanders the truth. While not outright lieing to questions, he never really answers any questions to the people’s satisfaction. Bevan Baker asks good questions, but doesn’t keep pounding until he gets to the truth. Surely one of our precious MLAs will have the backbone and the guts to really go after the mismanagement of the public purse. All loan write offs and expenditures should appear immediately on the government’s website for public scrutiny. Where is the legislation for that?

     

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