Premier Christy Clark listens as Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick addresses the B.C. Liberal Party convention in Vancouver

Premier trades expense claims for party salary

Christy Clark says her expenses will be less than the $50,000 annual salary she no longer collects, but she doesn't know how much less

Premier Christy Clark says she doesn’t know yet what expenses she will submit for doing B.C. Liberal Party work, now that she no longer collects a $50,000-a-year salary from the party’s donor base.

Clark was asked Monday about the change, after she disclosed Friday afternoon that she no longer took the salary.

“I don’t know what expenses yet, but I’m sure it will certainly be less,” Clark said Monday.

Asked if there would be any other changes to the party’s fundraising before the election scheduled for May, Clark went on the offensive against NDP leader John Horgan.

“There are two ways to do political fundraising,” Clark said. “One is to have people choose to donate, which is the system we have now, and one is the one the NDP proposes, which is to have taxpayers forced to pay for political parties. Neither of them is perfect, but I think the one the NDP have chosen is something British Columbians would like a lot less.”

Horgan didn’t endorse a public pay-per-vote scheme, as was used in federal politics in recent years. But he wouldn’t rule it out as he repeated his pledge to ban corporate and union donations to political parties.

Both leaders have continued to hold private fundraising events for supporters. Horgan has said he isn’t interested in “unilateral disarmament,” forgoing corporate and union money while the B.C. Liberals pile up donations that totalled more than $12 million in 2016.

Clark was asked about a fundraising dinner she is scheduled to attend in Kelowna Jan. 26, with tickets reported to be going for $5,000 each. It was organized by Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country, who changed his plans to go after the Vancouver Province reported that he was pulling out of an agriculture debate set for the same day in Abbotsford.

“It didn’t happen,” Clark said. “He’s going to the [Abbotsford] event.”

Horgan and NDP finance critic Carole James have a fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday at a downtown Vancouver restaurant, with tickets for individuals at $250 and sponsored individuals at $500. The event also offers bronze, silver and gold sponsorships for $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000.