If last year's provincial budget could be described as "petty" after Finance Minister Mike de Jong doled out an increase in assistance rates for those living with disabilities -- only to claw most of it back by ending the subsidized bus pass program -- this year's budget could best be described as "petulant."
Splat. It would seem British Columbia's 41st general election is well underway. News that someone may have hacked the B.C. Liberal party's website caused quite the uproar. Charges, counter-charges, flurries of tweets, threats of lawsuits, privacy investigations, possible police investigations, it had it all.
Mere hours before the New York Times went to press with its look at the B.C. Liberal party's ethical scorecard, the party chose to get its 2016 fundraising results out ahead of the storm. One last chance at political counter-spin and what a marvel of spin it was. U.S. Republican party strategist Karl Rove would have been proud.
When a corporation or union donates tens of thousands of dollars to a political party, you can bet that they are having an influence in what that party says or does. How else could they justify the investment? In our province, this is truly egregious but the B.C. Liberal government scoffs at anyone who suggests it needs to change.
The B.C. government is in the midst of saturating television shows and social media news feeds in the province with a multimillion-dollar back-patting advertising campaign in advance of the 2017 election. The B.C. Liberal party -- who clearly have money to burn -- is getting in on the act as well with mood-setting political ads.
The 2015 political donations were out this week and they contained some numbers that should cause a bit of unease. It's not just the 2015 amounts that are of interest, it's the running totals as well. Since 2005, the B.C. Liberal party has raised more than $107.8 million -- $70.2 million of that from businesses and corporations.
Just thumb through the party's 2009 donor list for a sense of how widespread the practice of awarding contracts to friends has become. Back then, someone must have woke up on New Year's Day with one hell of a hangover -- not from the night before -- but from the bank balance in the B.C. Liberal party's account.
News that Premier Christy Clark has spent $500,000 on private jets since assuming office has -- not surprisingly -- raised a few eyebrows. It's a story that has as much to do with the symbolism as it does with the dollars. A political condition that the government seems increasingly tone deaf to as of late.
Trade associations -- Many are known to donate generously to political parties, particularly when they want to curry favour. In the U.S. it's called "dark money," a way to spend big bucks on politics and remain relatively anonymous. It doesn't have the same bad rap in B.C. yet, but it's problematic.