Bill 15, Local Elections Campaign Financing Amendment Act, 2017 received
Royal Assent on November 30, 2017, resulting in many changes to the financing provisions of the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. The next municipal elections will be held on October 20, 2018. Related reading will be added to the bottom of this post.
For reference, below we copy the text right from the source. This is a bulletin from Elections B.C. on November 30, 2017. Emphasis is by CityHallWatch.
Update (Jan 9): This Frequently Asked Questions list is a useful resource:
At the bottom we add some incisive tweets about what’s wrong with the new legislation and what needs to change. Active citizens may wish to reach out to elected officials an call for improvements!
We still hear about major problematic loopholes. More on that later.
LOCAL ELECTIONS CAMPAIGN FINANCING AMENDMENT ACT, 2017
Bill 15, Local Elections Campaign Financing Amendment Act, 2017 received Royal Assent on November 30, 2017, resulting in many changes to the financing provisions of the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.
The new rules apply to the 2018 General Local Elections and are retroactive to October 31, 2017. The new rules do not apply to local by-elections and assent voting that occurs before the 2018 General Local Elections.
Elections BC’s forms and guides are under review and will be updated to reflect the amendments. Under the new rules:
. Campaign contributions from organizations, corporations and unions are prohibited.
. Only eligible individuals can make campaign contributions. An eligible individual is someone who is a resident of B.C. and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
. An eligible individual may contribute up to $1,200 per year per campaign to an unendorsed candidate or $1,200 in total to each campaign of an elector organization and its endorsed candidates.
. Penalties will apply to contributions that exceed the limit.
. Contributions must be collected in relation to a specific campaign and cannot be shared between campaigns.
. Candidates and elector organizations can only accept loans from eligible individuals up to $1,200 per year, or from savings institutions up to any value. If a loan from an eligible individual is forgiven it becomes a campaign contribution.
. The total of an eligible individual’s campaign contributions and outstanding loans to a campaign must not exceed $1,200 in a calendar year.
. The rules for determining who is the sponsor of election advertising have been revised to match the provincial Election Act.
. Only eligible individuals may give sponsorship contributions to third parties for use in election advertising. There is no annual sponsorship contribution limit for contributions to third parties. [CityHallWatch note: This could be a big problem.]
. Third party advertising sponsors can only accept loans from eligible individuals or savings institutions. Loans must be recorded and disclosed by third party advertising sponsors.
This bulletin applies to the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act only.
For more information, contact Local Elections Campaign Finance at Elections BC.
Worries Continue About Big Money in Small-Town Politics: Former Sunshine Coast mayor asks whether new election rules will have sufficient teeth.
In The Tyee, by Andrew MacLeod, 3-Jan-2018.
Excerpts: “The rules are only practical if they’re going to be enforced and if there are consequences for breaking the rules,” said Barry Janyk, who served in local government in Gibsons for 15 years starting in 1996, including 12 years as mayor. “If people want to cheat the system and they have the resources to do it, then they’ll do it…” … Janyk said the amount spent on the election is a sign of business interests hoping to influence the outcome…. Even with the new rules, much will depend on people’s honesty and integrity, he said. When something is improper, he said, “Unless you get someone who’s going to leak it, it’s very difficult to prove it.” … Elections BC tries to resolve any compliance issues through education first, Watson said, but can take further steps if necessary. “The Chief Electoral Officer has the authority to conduct reviews, investigations and audits of the financial affairs and accounts of candidates, elector organizations, third party sponsors and assent voting advertising sponsors to ensure compliance with [the law],” he said. “They also have the authority to require individuals or organizations to provide further information respecting compliance with the Act. We follow up any complaint we receive regarding potential contraventions of the Act, and may initiate an investigation if required.”
Main takeaway of this article: In effect, enforcement of the legislation will depend to some extent on whistleblowers.
Saanich byelection winner Harper spent $33,477 on campaign: documents
Bill Cleverley / Times Colonist, DECEMBER 28, 2017. Excerpt: Prince said the landscape will have changed by the next October’s municipal election. New provincial legislation puts a $1,200 cap per year on individual contributions. That limit would also apply on how much candidates can contribute to their own campaigns.
FROM 2015, about spending limits
MLAs seek to limit spending in mayor, councillor electionsMLAs seek to limit spending in mayor, councillor electionsLindsay Kines / Times Colonist, JUNE 26, 2015
Proposal in 2015 was:
Campaign spending proposal
Mayor, population under 10,000
Other candidates, population under 10,000
• Councillors, school trustees and electoral area directors — $5,000
Mayor, population over 10,000
• First 15,000 people — $1 per person
• 15,000 to 150,000 — $0.55 per person
• 150,000 to 250,000 — $0.60 per person
• Above 250,000 — $0.15 per person
Other candidates, population over 10,000
• First 15,000 people — $0.50 per person
• 15,000 to 150,000 — $0.28 per person
• 150,000 to 250,000 — $0.30 per person
• Above 250,000 — $0.08 per person