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Kelowna  

Forking over $5,000

Madison Erhardt

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m.

BC NDP agriculture critic Lana Popham is calling the lead up to Thursday night's fundraising dinner in West Kelowna "a slap in the face to agriculture."

She said Liberal Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick dropped the ball by initially cancelling his commitments at Vancouver's Pacific Agriculture Show to attend Premier Christy Clark's $5,000-a-plate fundraising dinner.

"What I'm left with is that the 20 people willing to pay $5,000 for a dinner are much more important than the world of agriculture to the minister of agriculture," she said.

She said the real reason Letnick, the Kelowna-Lake Country MLA, had cancelled his commitments at the major agricultural event didn't emerge until it came out in the media.

"I thought it was pretty sneaky myself," she said.

Letnick was supposed to debate Popham on agricultural issues Thursday morning, but that had to be cancelled.

She said tonight's fundraising dinner also speaks to the larger issue of democracy.

"It seems there's no end to money they are able to raise from a very small group of people," she said. "I don't think democracy works very well that way."

"This current regime is really obsessed with fundraising," she added.

If elected, an NDP government would take big money out of politics, Popham said.


ORIGINAL: 11:15 a.m.

A posh Liberal fundraising event in West Kelowna tonight will draw 20 people, all willing to fork over $5,000 for private access to Premier Christy Clark.

It's unclear who is on the dinner guest list and what topics will be discussed.

Cash raised from the event at Mission Hill winery will go into Liberal Party coffers.

A letter sent to party supporters, obtained by CTV Vancouver, also promotes a second fundraising event on Friday at Big White. For $2,500, attendees will have access to cabinet ministers, MLAs and Clark. All funds will go to the re-election campaign for Liberal Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson.

"Christy Clark has lined her party's coffers with out-of-province, out-of-country donations. Limitless. No rules," Rob Fleming told CTV Vancouver.

BC Liberals say the NDP also accepts donations from out of province.

In a recent unscientific poll on Castanet, more than 3,000 of the 5,200 respondents said they believed the $5,000-a-plate event is unethical. Meanwhile, 1,225 people said “that’s politics.” Nearly 500 said it’s fine.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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