(Updated: After running out of speakers, the Hearing ended at about 4 pm today. Note that most other hearings across the province were cancelled. We do not feel that this is due to public apathy. Top blame for the low turnout might go to the BC Liberal-dominated committee itself — it looks like the only outreach was with ONE press release on March 13 and limited outreach with sprinkling of ads. Second place blame probably goes to the media owners/editors/publishers. Ask the publishers and chief editors of major outlets like the Vancouver Sun why they gave this topic — so important to our society and democracy — virtually zero coverage. However, for anyone concerned, you can still submit written comments until April 17. And you could arrange to speak by conference call with the April 15 final date. See below.)
As we have covered previously, today, April 9, is the last date in Vancouver for Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits.
It was scheduled to run from 1 pm until 7 pm (but ended at 4 pm) in the Strategy Room 320, Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 W Hastings St, Vancouver. It is open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to observe the proceedings, even a part.
Written submissions can also be sent to the committee by April 17, 2015.
One more date is set for Victoria (Wednesday, April 15), 9 am to 12 noon. People can sign up to speak in person, or might be able to make arrangements to speak by conference call. http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/leel/documents-proceedings.asp
At the heart of many of the problems being faced in B.C. municipalities and in fact at the provincial level is the fact that our province is the Wild Wild West in terms of money and politics. The main political organizations at the municipal and provincial levels are addicted to political donations, which they are permitted to receive from any individual or entity on planet Earth, in any amount. The results are obvious in policy biases and decisions at the provincial and municipal level. The unprecedented number of citizen-launched lawsuits against the City of Vancouver, and a current action to disqualify Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillor Geoff Meggs from public office are just a few signs of the root problem as citizens try to respond to a system that is seriously flawed to the core.
This committee also has a serious flaw in that it only looks at expenses, not contributions — the BC Liberals rejected proposals to include contributions. But even so, it is important for the public to be involved and give a clear message that serious reforms are needed, lest our society goes further down this path.
Transcripts and audio of all the hearings are available online. Click on the “Minutes and Transcripts” tab here. The April 9 meeting should be online the next day. The presentations by the Vancouver Green Party, and IntegrityBC, are worthy of special mention.
Related articles by CityHallWatch:
- B.C. Local Election Finance Limits (March 30 – April 9): Public Hearings on Phase 2 consultations – https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/election_finance_public_hearings/
- Finance limits and the role of local political parties in Vancouver municipal elections – https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/finance-limits-local-political-parties/
Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits (official website): http://www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/leel/about.asp