Did Gregor Robertson abuse power of incumbency? (City website did free advertising for him throughout election)

CoV screenshot City Council Robertson promo 20-Nov-2014A reader searching to find City Council salaries happened upon this web page for Vancouver City Council today and asked if it was appropriate for the Mayor to be portrayed like this here during the election. Throughout the election, the City’s taxpayer-funded website provided free advertising for Mayor Gregor Robertson, and by extension, his party Vision Vancouver.

This may not be illegal, but it does demonstrate the advantage of incumbency. This web page is just one example. How many votes of Robertson’s 10,086-vote lead over his main rival could be attributed to the free advertising provided by the City’s website and other communications from City Hall. Difficult to quantify, perhaps, but not zero.

Perhaps other politicians would have taken steps to “neutralize” City Hall’s website. Any readers with examples of good practices (or even regulations) in other jurisdictions, please send us a note to share with others. citizenYVR@gmail.com.

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