B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson in his legislature office, Feb. 13, 2020. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Political parties whose fundraising abilities have been curtailed by COVID-19 have mostly taken advantage of Ottawa’s wage subsidy, including “indirectly” the B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson says.

The B.C. Liberals and B.C. Green Party have resorted to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, a federal pandemic program that runs retroactively from March 15 to Aug. 29. The B.C. NDP have indicated they did not apply for the subsidy covering up to 75 per cent of wages, but the federal NDP have and Wilkinson said the uniquely integrated federal-provincial NDP amounts to the same thing.

“All of the parties in Canada that are relevant have taken the money, including the federal NDP, Tories, Liberals, Greens and the provincial Greens directly, and we assume the provincial NDP indirectly, because they’re one and the same party federally and provincially,” Wilkinson said in an interview.

Raj Sihota, provincial director of the B.C. NDP, said Wilkinson’s assumption is wrong, and what he is implying would be a violation of financing rules under the federal Election Act.

“There are no federal NDP staffers working for the B.C. NDP,” Sihota said in a statement. “No money flows from the federal NDP to the B.C. NDP or vice versa.”

Canadian political parties qualify because they have charitable status, with generous tax credits for people donating. For B.C. parties, the maximum credit is $500 a year, refunding 75 per cent of the first $100 contributed, 50 per cent of the next $450 and a third of the next $600.

RELATED: B.C. NDP brings in political party subsidy, collects $2 million

RELATED: Christy Clark begins party disclosure, NDP battles ‘big money’

Political parties qualify for the federal wage subsidy because their fundraising events can’t be held during the coronavirus pandemic restrictions on gatherings.

Corporate and union donations to B.C. parties were halted by the John Horgan NDP government in 2017, replaced with a $2.50-per-vote taxpayer subsidy to parties that Horgan had specifically ruled out during the 2017 election campaign. That subsidy declined to $2 per vote in 2020 and is scheduled to be reduced to $1.75 next year, after paying out nearly $2 million each to the NDP and B.C. Liberals in 2018, and $830,000 to the B.C. Greens.

Wilkinson said aside from two reporters, he has heard no public feedback on the decision to accept the wage subsidy for party employees, paid from donations plus the wage subsidy in addition to the taxpayer-funded caucus staff allotted to each party.

“So we’re seeing basically no commentary on this at all,” Wilkinson said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton photographer publishes book showcasing resilience of Okanagan people

Okanagan Strong showcases the bravery of many during crisis; from COVID-19, to floods, and fires

Summerland steam train to begin operations

Reduced schedule, physical distancing planned for Kettle Valley Steam Railway beginning July 18

Morning Start: Naps could save your life

Your morning start for Wednesday, July 9, 2020

After slow start, Summerland sees more tourism activity

Majority of visitors come from within British Columbia

EDITORIAL: Accommodating Okanagan fruit pickers

Campsite for agricultural workers to open in Summerland

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read