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WLNG donations part of Elections BC investigation

Other parties investigated as well, says official
Elections BC is investigating donations made by lobbyists on behalf of corporations and special interest groups. The "open-ended" investigation will include a look at donations made by Woodfibre LNG's Byng Giraud (left) to the BC Liberal Party.

Donations made on behalf of Squamish’s Woodfibre LNG are part of an investigation by Elections BC into possible contraventions of the Election Act by the BC Liberal Party, the province’s chief electoral officer, Keith Archer, revealed Monday.

Elections BC announced the investigation following a Globe and Mail article that highlighted how donations are funneled to the party by individual lobbyists on behalf of corporations and special interest groups.

Woodfibre LNG’s Byng Giraud has given $47,149 in his own name over three years that Woodfibre then reimbursed him for, the article states. 

That is against BC election rules that don’t allow for indirect political contributions.

A spokesperson for Woodfibre LNG said the company will comply with the investigation and blamed the Liberal’s reporting methods for the problem.

“Woodfibre LNG Limited and Mr. Giraud have made donations, including the purchase of tickets to fundraisers, to various political parties and candidates, including the BC Liberal Party,” said Jennifer Siddon, spokesperson for Woodfibre LNG.

“Woodfibre LNG and Mr. Giraud have always been up front and transparent in reporting any donations. The issue appears to be with the BC Liberal Party’s reporting system, and we will cooperate fully with any investigation by Elections BC. 

“Until any such investigation is complete, we are advised not to make any further public comments.”

The investigation will be “open ended,” according to Andrew Watson, communications manager with Elections BC.

“This means that it won’t necessarily focus on only one political party,” Watson told The Chief in an email.

 If the Elections BC probe finds there’s been contraventions of the Election Act, the matter will be forwarded to the criminal justice branch of the Ministry of Justice, according to the Elections BC news release.

The penalties for violating the Election Act are a fine up to $10,000, prison time of up to a year, or both, according to the release.

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