NEWS RELEASE · 18th February 2011
Delaney: National Post allegations of illegal foreign interference in BC Liberal leadership race demand immediate action
BC First spokesman Chris Delaney is calling on Elections BC to conduct a thorough investigation of the BC Liberal Party membership prior to the upcoming Leadership vote, amid new allegations of possible fraud and illegal outside influence in that contest.
Delaney says reports in the National Post yesterday reveal that entities from outside BC such as the Tides Foundation are using foreign money and organizational support to recruit members to the BC Liberal party in order to influence the outcome of their leadership vote.
“These reports are startling and extremely disturbing. The allegation that a foreign jurisdiction is directly trying to influence the outcome of the election of the next premier of BC is so serious it must be investigated by Elections BC immediately,” said Delaney.
The National Post reports that a group calling itself “Organizing for Change” (OC) has been recruiting social and environmental activists to “temporarily join” the BC Liberals in order to influence the outcome of their leadership vote. A review of U.S. tax filings shows that OC is a project of Tides Canada – a US charitable foundation.
The National Post says the OC campaign is directly funded by the Wilberforce Foundation from Seattle, through Tides USA. Since 2003 Wilberforce has paid Tides USA a total of $329,000 specifically designated to Tides Canada’s OC project.
“This is a foreign lobby group funded by powerful interests in the United States such as George Soros, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. The National Post reveals that they have set up a variety of foundations operating in BC which are funding projects that would block Canadian oil exports to Asia and give the U.S. a virtual monopoly on Canadian oil exports,” said Delaney.
“The entire leadership race of the BC Liberal party, and ultimately the leadership of British Columbia have been called into question by these revelations. This needs to be investigated by Elections BC and dealt with immediately,” said Delaney.
Delaney says Section 194 of the BC Elections Act prohibits third parties of a “partisan political character” from incurring expenses in an election in BC, as follows:
Restrictions on who may incur expenses equivalent to election expenses
194 (1) Except as permitted under subsection
(2- individuals) or (3- organizations), an individual or organization must not incur, directly or indirectly, an expense that would be an election expense if it were incurred on behalf of a candidate, registered political party or registered constituency association.
(3) An organization may incur an expense referred to in subsection (1) if all the following requirements are met:
(a) the organization must not be a political party or an organization of a partisan political character;
(b) the expense must be incurred for the purpose of
(i) gaining support for views held by the organization on an issue of public policy,
(ii) advancing the aims of the organization, or
(iii) advancing the aims of another organization, other than a political party or an organization of a partisan political character, of which the organization is a member and on whose behalf the expense is incurred;
(c) the expense must be incurred in good faith and not for any purpose related to the provisions of this Act limiting the value of election expenses that may be incurred by a candidate or registered political party.
Delaney says he has sent a request to Elections BC Acting CEO Craig James asking for an immediate investigation and if necessary a halt to the BC Liberal leadership vote until any question of electoral impropriety is satisfactorily addressed.
BC First believes all elections, politicians, political parties, and quasi-political groups operating in BC must be free from foreign influence and funding. BC First would immediately amend the Election Act, the Municipal Act and the Vancouver Charter to specifically prohibit funding by outside jurisdictions in BC political affairs.