Our View: Get cash out of elections

Why does spending affect who gets their message out to voters?

This week, Liberal leader Christy Clark slammed NDP leader John Horgan for having a major union pay the salaries of several of his key campaign workers.

It’s a legitimate point, but it would have seemed less hypocritical coming from a premier who hadn’t had her salary topped up from party coffers for the past several years.

Clark’s salary boost came from donations, many of which came from major corporations and from the infamous cash-for-access events the Liberals have held in recent years.

Horgan, for his part, says he can’t tie his hands when fighting a Liberal party flush with corporate cash.

The obvious solution, one that virtually everyone but the parties agrees on, is to ban donations from corporations and unions, lower caps on personal donations, and lower election spending caps.

B.C. has newspapers, radio and TV news, and a vast constellation of blogs and social media networks.

Elections are supposed to be about ideas. Each party, leader, and candidate presents their plan for the future. What will they do with taxes, how will they increase prosperity, what can they do to protect children, improve health care, and reduce violent crime?

We can judge them by crunching the numbers and looking at their records. We shouldn’t have to judge them based on which side attracted more cash from special interest groups.

If the provincial parties and leaders can’t get their ideas out without spending millions every election cycle, their ideas probably weren’t worth listening to in the first place.

– M.C.