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British Columbia Liberal Leader Christy Clark says the difference between her party accepting donations from American lumber companies and NDP Leader John Horgan welcoming support from a forestry union with ties to U.S. industry is that she won't allow the money to influence her commitment to putting B.C. workers first.

Clark said Monday the New Democrats can't be trusted to side with British Columbians after it emerged that the salaries of some of the NDP's senior campaign staff were being paid by the United Steelworkers Union, which represents 40,000 forestry workers across Canada.

A spokeswoman for the NDP said a "handful of staff," including the party's deputy director, are being paid by the Steelworkers and "some other organizations."

The Steelworkers' American wing has sided publicly with U.S. President Donald Trump in supporting some protectionist policies that would hurt B.C.'s forestry sector. ElectionsBC figures show the New Democrats accepted over $672,000 from the Steelworkers last year.

"It is not the same," Clark said when asked how she could criticize the NDP while her Liberal party accepted $241,000 in donations from Weyerhaeuser dating back to 2005. The company has a large stake in the lumber industry in both Canada and the United States.

"I mean, everybody takes donations," she said. "But the thing is, does the donation change your decision? Does the donation mean you give up on B.C. forestry workers? In John Horgan's case it does."

A spokesperson from Weyerhaeuser was not immediately available for comment.

Horgan countered that Clark and the B.C. Liberals have been bought by the same "greedy lumber barons" she complained about last week in reference to the softwood dispute between Canada and the United States.

"For the B.C. Liberals to say from the first-class lounge that the big lobbyists and the big donors don't have influence, I’ll leave that to your readers to decide," Horgan said.

Campaign finances have emerged as a key issue in B.C.'s provincial election, with both parties accusing the other of selling out to influence-peddlers.

Clark has repeatedly rejected calls to prohibit corporate and union donations. Horgan has said an NDP government would ban big money from politics, but in the meantime his party must play by the current rules if it hopes to compete with the Liberals.

"The laws need to be changed." he said. "But I'm not going to put two hands behind my back when the most corporate-funded party in B.C. history is raking in money."

Green party Leader Andrew Weaver has called the New Democrats hypocrites for berating the Liberals over accepting large corporate donations.

"It's a bit rich for them to criticize the Liberals and then not take a look in the mirror and then say, 'You know what, what are we doing?' My question to them is, 'Who's bought you?'" Weaver said, after unveiling his party's platform at an event in Vancouver.

The Greens had a single politician in the legislature when the election was called two weeks ago and have refused all corporate and union donations in favour of individual contributions.

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If Crisco's union bashing works for her, and British Columbians accept that large liberal donations from lobbyists fronting for corporations (a big part of the money the Liberals had to return recently, took this high road) is the ethical way to raise campaign funds, than I guess they deserve what they are going to get.

Neo-liberalism is failing all across the planet...but not to worry. It will do everything in its power to survive...and as a general rule, austerity is high on the list of how these free marketeer high rollers do that.
AUSTERITY. Get with it folks. It means the loss of social services, medical care services, pensions, police capabilities, social infrastructure. In short: everything that maintains a healthy society become up for grabs.

Extractivist industries fracking and spilling, polluting and poisoning air and water??? These good men and women fuel our 'wealth creation' which must continue apace, while the little no accounts....like our children, pay the price for having lived too high on the hog.
Union Bashing??? It's a key ingredient of the neo-liberal take. FALL FOR IT AGAIN, WHY DON'T YOU, B.C.!

You have nothing to lose but the fertility of your coastline.....and lots of expensive hydro (Site C) and exciting earthquakes (fracking) to gain.

The problem is the large numbers of people who don't feel represented by either party. On one hand you have the corporatist Clarke and her donations not only from big energy but also from real estate developers. The morphing of Vancouver into a safe haven piggy bank for foreign oligarchs to park their money has distorted the market beyond any rational economic fundamentals. And the NDP are the flip side of the same coin with their beholden to the very large unions who, relative to the majority of the population, have high paying jobs and gold plated benefits and pension plans. The majority who fall outside of these two spheres may in the future be ready for a Trumpian type populist.

BC Liberals accepted millions in donations from corporations, their executive and their lobbyists, including almost $200,000 against the law in recent years that they are being investigated for and had to return. They accept corporate and non-citizen personal donations from outside Canada, which is illegal just about everywhere else. Cash-for-Access fundraisers at $10,000/plate (or more) means Cabinet can be further lobbied by those same corporations, and as reports in the media have shown, the corporations donating to the Liberals get projects approved and far more government contracts than those that don't. Clarke took a $50,000/yr "stipend" from her party that came directly from those donations as well, until public outrage forced cosmetic changes and she will now be "submitting receipts for reimbursement". This would be bad enough if they were not also gutting environmental protections (or ignoring requirements altogether), destroying vital and protected ecosystems, signing multi-billion dollar 25 year energy subsidies and other "incentives", $3.5 billion "estimated cost" to replace the Massey Tunnel with a toll bridge in order to allow floating bombs (LNG tankers) access, Run of River that destroys rivers while charging double or triple the going rate for electricity, ramming ahead with the Site C dam "projected" to cost close to $10 billion and not only skyrocket residential energy costs, but cost taxpayers tens of millions yearly for the subsidized energy. Tailings spills, earthquakes and poisons from fracking, coal burning in residential areas, subsidizing stumpage rates and allowing logs to be exported instead of processed locally, TFW, Real Estate money laundering on a massive scale, after Clarke illegally stripped part of the BCTF contract she funded her 10 year court battle with taxpayer money. She lost. Even with the Court Ordered return of that funding, public schools in BC are $100 million behind where they would be had it not been removed, MSP rates are obscene, and despite claiming a billion dollar surplus they still refuse to raise social assistance or disability rates that haven't changed in TEN YEARS. This crowd is only interested in their rich buddies and corporate allies - anything benefitting taxpayers is accidental or taxed to death. After a decade of this, you know exactly what you are getting and cannot possibly expect improvements.

On the other hand, the NDP believe in strong worker rights, good wages for all, looking after those that need help, accessible health care for everyone, employing local people instead of TFW, taxing corporations and the rich, ending trophy hunting of grizzly bears throughout the province, having the BC Utilities Commission review the Site C dam (he needs to say if he will scrap it), affordable daycare, etc. The NDP created the ALR when last in office and left the Province with a hefty surplus. Your assertion that "NDP are the flip side of the same coin with their beholden to the very large unions who, relative to the majority of the population, have high paying jobs and gold plated benefits and pension plans" is a reason to vote for them, since they are likely to pass legislation protecting workers rights, making minimum wage a living wage and improving working conditions. After promising the opposite, Trudeau expanded the TFW program (allowing Irving Shipyards to import low-paid carpenters from Spain instead of using their own staff carpenters with decades of experience.) it was the NDP in Alberta that passed rules barring specific trades to be brought in over qualified people in the province needing jobs. It doesn't go nearly far enough, but at least it's a start. The same NDP government is raising minimum wage to $15 in stages (at $12.20 now, to $13.60 this Oct and $15 in Oct 2018) despite the huge lobbying efforts of those opposed.

Green Party leader Gordon Weaver is very cozy with the Liberals and has supported some of their environmental and fiscal disasters, going so far as to robocall in support of Run of River, which is neither green, nor clean and has destroyed hundreds of salmon bearing rivers as well as carving up wilderness for the roads, hydro poles and infrastructure. BC Hydro is then required to pay 2 and 3 times the going rate for the electricity, whether it is used or not! A scientist representing the Green Party has absolutely no business supporting these projects or the Liberals and it mars the whole party. He needs to be replaced to regain voter trust.