Influence? Donations from corporations and labour

Barry Penner, the Liberal MLA from Chilliwack-Kent, has been around long enough to know that before one points fingers one should get their own house in order.

Most notable about his attack on the NDP’s new leader, Carole James, was the fact that his party felt the need to attack at all. It looks like the Liberal party is getting nervous about the rise of the NDP in the polls.

Widely reported in the BC media, Penner tried to put the NDP on the defensive by resurrecting issues about continued labour influence within the New Democrats.

Penner was quoted as saying taxpayers should be concerned about labour’s influence over the NDP because, “When it comes time to negotiate with the public sector unions you need somebody who is not beholden to those union leaders in order to look out for the best interests of taxpayers.”

While labour’s influence over the NDP may concern some, corporate influence over the Liberal’s is unchallenged in the media. The numbers speak for themselves (Between 1996 and 2002):

  • 67% of the Liberals’ reported donations came from business and corporations;
  • only 10% of NDP donations came from labour.

Penner’s attack received wide coverage, yet I have yet to see or hear a story in the mainstream press questioning whether corporate donations have made the Liberals beholden to the corporate sector. Or questioning whether these corporate donations influenced the Liberals in recent negotiations on labour or environmental legislation.

Given the uniformly pro-corporate schemes being tabled by the current government, some real investigative reporting might uncover some interesting connections. A story comparing the sources of the majority of Liberal, NDP, and Green funding would be a good place to start.

Dogwood Initiative will continue to attempt to bring these stories to light

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