British Columbia Premier John Horgan opened his annual leader's levee speech on Friday by declaring it might be the finale for such events.
"I want to thank you for coming to the end of these types of events," Mr. Horgan told hundreds of guests, who paid $525 for single tickets and $3,000 for groups of up to seven, as he began talking about the record of his government.
The long-awaited gathering came in the same week that the NDP laid out its plans for campaign-finance reform.
But the NDP party president said such gatherings will continue within the bounds set by the new legislation, which caps individual donations at $1,200 annually to a political party and its candidates. Corporate and union donations would be banned under the NDP's plan.
Craig Keating noted that many people bought individual tickets of about $500, which would be well within the legislation limits once they are passed.
"We will continue to hold events in which people as individuals, not unions and corporations, will be able to come out to events like this. We will continue to do that," Mr. Keating said in an interview after Mr. Horgan's speech.
Mr. Keating said he did not have figures at hand on how many people were in attendance.
He also said no further events on par with the levee were planned for the rest of the calendar year.
The proposed legislation overhauls the province's lax campaign finance rules, imposing new limits on spending and fundraising by political parties and independent third parties that engage in election advertising.
It also means a public subsidy tied to votes received in the most recent election. Asked if he could comment on what that would mean for the party, Mr. Keating said, "I haven't done that math yet."
The subsidy would start at $2.50 a vote next year, decreasing to $1.75 a vote in 2022, when the subsidy would be reviewed. Only three parties currently meet the threshold to qualify for the allowance: the NDP, the Liberals and the BC Green Party. Based on this year's election results, that would add up to roughly $16.4-million in payments over the next four years.
During his remarks, Mr. Horgan acknowledged that some in the room might be strangers to the cause of the B.C. NDP government, which was sworn in in July, ending 16 years of BC Liberal government.
"There are people in this room tonight that did not vote for me. There are people in this room that may not vote for me in the future," said Mr. Horgan, expressing hopes they would find common cause with the NDP.
The previous BC Liberal government faced repeated calls to reform the province's campaign-finance system, including earlier this year when a Globe and Mail report uncovered prohibited donations by lobbyists, who were breaking one of the few rules the province had. The Globe's story found some lobbyists made political contributions under their own names and were later reimbursed by clients or companies. Such indirect donations are illegal. The RCMP have since opened an investigation into the practices of all of the province's political parties.