UBCM B95 – Local Govt Election Campaign Finance Rules – Vancouver

Union of British Columbia Municipalities 2013
Resolution B95 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION CAMPAIGN FINANCE RULES
Sponsor: City of Vancouver
This resolution was endorsed.

CityHallWatch note – This resolution, adopted, calls for the UBCM to support Vancouver’s request to the provincial government for amendments to the Vancouver Charter to allow Vancouver to make rules for election campaign finance that place greater limits on campaign spending and contributions, and provide for greater disclosure. The resolution is highly problematic. As the incumbent regime at Vancouver City Council would then create its own rules, it would be like having the rabbit guarding the carrot patch. Citizens are encouraged to ask the Provincial Government NOT to follow City of Vancouver and UBCM’s requests on this point. Click here for CityHallWatch article and links to provide input to BC Province by the Oct 23, 2013, public input deadline.

This resolution was endorsed as amended (see below)
Sponsor: LMLGA Executive
Source: http://www.ubcm.ca/EN/main/resolutions/resolutions/resolutions-responses.html (see 2013 UBCM Resolutions [PDF – 1.2 MB] for text of resolution and 2013 Resolutions Disposition [PDF – 127 KB] for outcome/amendment)

WHEREAS in 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2012, the City of Vancouver has brought forward formal requests to the Province requesting changes to the Vancouver Charter to allow for local governments to create appropriate rules for disclosure and regulation of election campaign finance, which is currently regulated at a standard far lower than provincial or federal elections;

AND WHEREAS the funds used to campaign for elected office in Vancouver have grown exponentially in the seven year interval Vancouver has waited for provincial action on this issue, with the unprecedented case of $960,000 donated to one electoral organization from a single corporation in the2011 Vancouver local government election;

AND WHEREAS the most recent motion, passed unanimously by Vancouver City Council in January 2012, provoked an informal response from the provincial government that they would be amenable to modernizing municipal election and campaign rules if support from a majority of municipalities was garnered;

AND WHEREAS a motion from Vancouver to the UBCM in 2009 was pre-empted from debate with the establishment of the provincial government’s Local Government Election Task Force:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that UBCM support Vancouver’s request to the provincial government for amendments to the Vancouver Charter to allow Vancouver to make rules for election campaign finance that place greater limits on campaign spending and contributions, and provide for greater disclosure.

MAINLAND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION

UBCM RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION: No Recommendation

UBCM RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE COMMENTS:

The Resolutions Committee notes that in 2009 the City of Vancouver requested that:

“UBCM petition the provincial government to amend the Local Government Act and the Vancouver Charter to:

• set limits on the annual amount of contributions that can be given by an individual or organization to an elector organization, campaign organizer, or an individual seeking elected office;

• limit the amount of money that may be spent annually by an elector organization, campaign organizer, or an individual seeking elected office during a general local election campaign; and

• disallow contributions to an elector organization, campaign organizer, or an individual seeking elected office, from sources outside of Canada;”

The 2009 resolution was referred to the Local Government Elections Task Force that had been established to look at local government elections reform.

In May 2010, the Elections Task Force published its recommendations for elections legislation reform. While the Task Force supported introducing campaign expense limits and requiring greater financial disclosure, it was silent on contribution limits. The Committee understands that the Province is preparing legislation that would address the Elections Task Force recommendations, in advance of the 2014 local government elections.

This 2013 resolution, while making the same three requests as the 2009 resolution, is specifically asking that the Vancouver Charter be amended, not the Local Government Act. The Resolutions Committee recognizes that in focusing the 2013 resolution on the Vancouver Charter, the City of Vancouver acknowledges that it faces specific challenges with local government election campaign finance within its community, challenges that may not currently be experienced by other local governments in the province. The Committee further recognizes that the City of Vancouver is seeking a solution that would avoid placing unnecessary restrictions onto other local governments.

While the Vancouver Charter applies solely to the City of Vancouver, the Committee would suggest that amendments to the Vancouver Charter do not occur in isolation from the other legislation pertaining to local government in BC. Indeed, there is the potential for changes to the Vancouver Charter to have impacts on the wider government in BC. Indeed, there is the potential for changes to the Vancouver Charter to have impacts on the wider legislative framework for local governments in the longer term. Because of this, the Committee suggests that it is appropriate for a resolution focused on the Vancouver Charter to be admitted for debate, so that it can be considered by the UBCM membership as a whole.

Conference decision: ENDORSED

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