MONTREAL - Quebec political bag men will be hauling much smaller sacks from now on, as the maximum political donation has been reduced from $1,000 to $100.

The law, which came in effect on Jan. 1, offers exceptions only during a by-election when a donor can give an additional $100 and during a leadership race when a donor can pony up $500 more.

The new rule is the result of legislation recently-passed by the Parti Quebecois minority provincial government and could lead to significantly lower donations than in previous years such as in 2011, when around 4,300 donors gave about $7.5 million to Quebec's provincial political parties.

The Charbonneau Commission recently heard testimony indicating that some contractors regularly gave far more than they were legally allowed to. They would often also get friends and family to write cheques.

“This is the best we can do right now to fight against these shadow donors and bag men,” said PQ MNA Bernard Drainville. “I think this is the best measure we can deal with within the legislative framework.”

Quebec has Canada’s toughest electoral donation laws, while Alberta now has the loosest.

Quebec will make up for the funding shortfall with greater subsidies for the parties. The PQ hopes it will make for a more transparent system as part of its campaign to tackle political corruption.