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

Maple Ridge goaltender taking talents to Junior A squad in Saskatchewan

Eric Clark, 18, undefeated with North VanWolf Pack this season; graduated from SRT with straight As

BC SPCA asking Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to take the No Hot Pets pledge

The BC SPCA receives nearly 1,000 calls a year about hot animals in cars

Free film for Ridge residents to mark Plastic Free July

The Story of Plastic can be viewed for free on any device

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Thousands of dollars of stolen rice traced to Langley warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

UPDATE: Mission spray park closed after children suffer swollen eyes, burns

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

19 times on 19th birthday: Langley teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

Most Read