No spending limits for Vancouver byelection Oct 14 (but Greens & One City already reject developer donations)

City HallMike Howell of the Vancouver Courier wrote on Sept 12, 2017, that there will be “No spending limits in place for Vancouver byelection: Minister says goal is to have new rules for next year’s municipal vote.”

From the CityHallWatch perspective the biggest public concern should be for Vision Vancouver and the NPA, which received over five million dollars in the 2014 civic election. Vision depends blatantly and heavily on developer and union donations. NPA depends heavily on developer funding. Of all the parties running in the October 14 byelection, as far as we know it is only the Vancouver Green Party that rejects funds from developers and unions and has a cap on individual donations. Current BC legislation does not require reporting of donations between election years, so the public has no idea on the size of donations especially to the ruling Vision regime for 2015, 2016, and 2017 to date. We have huge concerns about regulatory capture. We believe that regulatory capture is one of the underlying causes of the housing crisis in Vancouver.

For the byelection, we urge voters to tell candidates they want tighter election funding rules in Vancouver and note that the Green Party is already there and has been for years.

Below are excerpts of the article. Please go to the Courier for the full text.

Photo caption: Green Party council candidate Pete Fry and school board candidates Estrellita Gonzalez, Judy Zaichkowsky and Janet Fraser plan to run a “grassroots” campaign that doesn’t involve accepting money from developers. The party spent less than $100,000 in the 2014 municipal election campaign. 

  • The provincial minister responsible for municipal affairs says rules will not be in place to prevent Vancouver candidates in the Oct. 14 byelection from raising and spending as much money as they want to get elected.
  • Selina Robinson, who is also the province’s housing minister, said in an email to the Courier that the NDP government is working on new campaign finance rules that would apply to local government elections. She said “the goal” is to have rules in place for the October 2018 municipal elections.
  • “Our government is committed to local government finance reform,” she said. “I have asked my staff to prepare options and will be hearing back from them shortly. I have heard and appreciate Vancouver’s particular interest in campaign finance reform and we recognize that reforms around contribution limits and corporate and union donations are important issues both at the provincial and local government levels.”
  • The NDP minority government recommitted in its Sept. 8 throne speech to reform campaign finance laws to eliminate corporate and union donations, put strict limits on individual contributions and ensure only B.C. residents be allowed to donate to provincial parties.
  • … Over the past decade, the city’s two mainstream parties — Vision Vancouver and the NPA — have run million-dollar campaigns, or more, to get their candidates elected. Both parties are expected in the Oct. 14 byelection campaign to outspend other parties, including the Green Party and OneCity.
  • Judy Graves, OneCity’s council candidate, said the party doesn’t take money from developers and therefore is “not beholden to the extremely wealthy.” 
  • … Pete Fry, the Green Party’s council candidate, also said his party doesn’t accept donations from developers. 

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