While debate endlessly continues in the USA over political donations from powerful corporations, across the border in Canada, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has vowed to wipe out political donations from businesses and unions entirely, in an effort to restore political accountability.
In interviews and speeches this week, Notley stuck very close to the script of policies that gave her and her New Democrats (NDP) party an unprecedented NDP victory in May's Alberta elections, ending more than 43 years of Conservative rule in the province.
The NDP government’s flagship bill, entitled An Act to Renew Democracy in Alberta, will seek to end all corporate and union donations to political parties. Ms. Notley also announced plans to form a special committee to carry out a larger review of the province’s elections laws.
“Our political system has been far, far too dependent on funds from a narrow range of donors with deep pockets. We will tilt the playing field back in Albertans’ favor.” said Ms. Notley.
The donation's ban bill is expected to receive wide support in the legislature, except from the ousted PC party, who has been notoriously close to large donors. The heads of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees and the Alberta Federation of Labor support the bill.
The NDP will also introduce a bill which will seek to increase the province’s corporate tax rate from 10 to 12 per cent and end the province’s flat income tax – also now set at 10 per cent. Ms. Notley said the 14-year-old flat tax was a “brief and unfortunate experiment”.
“We are returning to a more typical Canadian tax system,” she said, adding that Albertans would still pay the lowest overall taxes in Canada.
The new Canadian model addresses the increasing issue of politicians representing exclusively big corporation and rich donors, while ignoring the vast majority of their constituents, which we've covered here, and raises the idea it could be used a template for substantive electoral reform.