Public Hearings have been scheduled in British Columbia by the Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits from March 30th to April 9th, 2015. Written submissions can also be sent to the committee by April 17, 2015. A survey is also available online. For residents of Metro Vancouver, the Public Hearings on local election expense limits in the region are scheduled for March 30th (Surrey) and April 9th (Vancouver).
For the 2014 election, Vision Vancouver declared spending over $3.4 million, while the NPA spent $2.4 million and the Green Party of Vancouver spent $0.1 million. All candidates and parties combined spent in excess of $6.4 million on the Vancouver 2014 civic election.
While limits on expenses are a good thing, many people who expect our democracy to be healthy and fair have a huge problem with the failure of the B.C. Provincial government to control donations. As stated by Max Cameron, the director of the University of B.C.’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions. unlike Montreal, the issue is one of “institutional corruption…” “Donors of large sums aren’t doing it out of altruistic civic mindedness.” (Source: “Victoria aims to limit civic donations: Record expenditures by main Vancouver parties bring calls for election expense reform,” by Jeff Lee, 14 Mar 2015, Vancouver Sun. But note that the paper has made a fundamental error, spreading misinformation, stating it’s “donations.”)
The Hansard from February 6, 2015 provides a review of the Phase 1 of the committee’s work (an audio link also available here). A technical briefing of the Phase 2 of the committee’s work is available in a PDF file. During the first phase of the Local Elections Expense Limits Committee, a number of submissions were made by organizations and members of the public (available here, these documents provide a lot of background and useful suggestions). The committee is set to make its recommendations to the Legislature by June 12, 2015.
[Update March 26, 2015] The Public Hearings will only be held in Surrey, Kamloops, Vancouver and Victoria. The dates for the other municipalities have been cancelled (Terrace, Fort St. John, Prince George, Cranbrook, Penticton):