The provincial legislature is set to debate the Local Elections Campaign Financing bill at third and final reading on Thursday, April 7th after 10am. [Update: the debate will continue on Monday, April 11th at around 2:30pm] As we’ve already noted, this bill does practically nothing to reform out of control campaign spending in municipal elections in BC. Big municipal parties with big resources are still virtually unlimited, while smaller parties or independents are at greater disadvantage. In fact, it has gone backwards on some things.
- Vancouver elector organizations will still be allowed to spend up to $3 million for a general election.
- Longer period for unlimited spending: In fact, a change was made to the Bill 17 to water down the requirements and limit the definitions of a “campaign period” that the spending limits apply to “the 28th day before general voting day for the election” (in other words, unlimited spending until then). (MLA Andrew Weaver will introduce an amendment so that the campaign period reads as “at the start of the calendar year in which the election is held or on the 46th day before general voting day, whichever is longer.“)
MLA Selina Robinson of the NDP will introduce an amendment to ban corporate and union donations by seeking to limit donations only to individuals. A number of other amendments are also contained in the agenda for the morning session of the Legislature. Will the majority of the MLAs support all or any of these amendments? The live video webfeed for the Legislature is available at this link. (The same video link will be active when the debate on Bill 17 continues after 2:30pm on Monday, April 11th).
Combined with the shift from 3 to 4 years for the civic election cycle for 2018, everything we see just gives more power to incumbents with big corporate and union donations.
Effect of big campaign donors ‘insidious,’ says B.C. politician (Vancouver Courier, Allen Garr, April 5, 2016)
Council Motion July 21 (could have transformed) Vancouver politics: Ban corporate/union donations, limit dollar amounts, require continuous reporting. Buried by Clr. Andrea Reimer. (July 17, 2015, CityHallWatch)
Seven-Year Delay On B.C. Local Election Spending Limits ‘Disappointing’: Member of Task Force (Emma Gilchrist, DeSmog Canada, May 1, 2014)
What did people say about local election finance reform? Draft recommendations fall short. Nov 27 deadline for comments (November 26, 2015, CityHallWatch)