NDP resurrects campaign finance reform in election pledge

The Yukon NDP is promising to ban donations from unions, corporations, or anyone outside the territory if it’s elected this November.

The Yukon NDP is promising to ban donations from unions, corporations, or anyone outside the territory if it’s elected this November.

“Our territory belongs to the people that live here, not to special interest groups that can pay the highest price,” Leader Liz Hanson said Tuesday.

The promise mirrors much of a doomed NDP private members’ bill the party tried to push through earlier this year.

The original bill also proposed capping donations from individual Yukoners at $1,500.

Hanson said that’s still something that could be discussed, though it’s not part of the campaign promise.

“I think having a cap on donations is something that we want to see discussed as we put the legislation through.”

Right now there are no rules limiting who can donate to Yukon political parties.

It’s obvious why an opposition party like the NDP would be in favour of this kind of campaign finance reform.

In 2012 Stratagold Corporation, which has a handful of properties in the Yukon, donated $15,000 to the Yukon Party. In 2011 the Predator Mining Group donated $10,000.

“Over the last five years over 70 per cent of the donations to Pasloski’s conservative Yukon Party didn’t come from the people, they came from corporations,” Hanson said.

“Of those donations nearly 40 per cent were from corporations outside of the Yukon.”

According to data provided by the NDP, $41,642, or 12 per cent, of its donations during those five years came from corporate and union donors.

Yukon Liberals came in at $12,700 or 7.6 per cent, according to the NDP’s numbers.

During the 2011 election campaign the Yukon Federation of Labour donated $35,000 to the NDP making it the party’s largest donor that year.

When the NDP tried to pass its private members’ bill the issue never actually made it to a vote.

Instead the bill was unanimously referred to the members’ services board for further discussion and eventually dropped.

During discussions about campaign finance reform Minister Currie Dixon said the Yukon Party is in favour of capping union and corporate donations, not banning them outright.

At the time, Silver said he didn’t agree with the provision to ban donations from people outside the territory.

Data on who donates to political parties this year ahead of November’s election won’t be made public until after the ballots are cast.

Hanson said her party would accept money from unions during this campaign because it is allowed under the current law.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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