Thursday, March 20, 2014
Corporations Come A-Courtin'
Rennie's $25K/plate lunch difficult to stomach
Released by Dermod Travis, IntegrityBC
f the B.C. government won't do it in time for November's local election, IntegrityBC is calling on Vancouver's municipal parties to do it themselves and agree to put an end to the obscene spending and corporate largesse that voters witnessed during the 2011 campaign.
organization made its call following news that Vancouver condo
developer Bob Rennie hosted a $25,000 a plate luncheon for Vision
Vancouver, which included a private “roundtable” discussion with
Mayor Gregor Robertson. Rennie claimed that fewer than 50 people
were invited, “so you can get a chance to talk.”
a pretty safe bet that they weren't discussing the Vancouver Canucks
for two hours over canapés,” said IntegrityBC executive director
out, campaign spending in Vancouver hit $5.3 million, in a city with
419,000 eligible voters. In 2008, it was $4.5 million.
month, candidates in Calgary's 2013 election filed their campaign
disclosure reports. Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi – who ran his
campaign on a self-imposed limit of 65 cents per eligible voter –
668,000 eligible voters, Nenshi underspent his own cap by six cents
per voter and ended the campaign with a surplus of $120,000, most of
which he intends to donate to local charities. Under Alberta's Local
Authorities Election Act, he could keep the funds for his next
Mississauga, Ontario – which is 1,000 eligible voters shy of
Vancouver – the 2010 spending limit for the post of mayor was
to IntegrityBC, the flip side of obscene election spending is
equally obscene campaign donations, as shown by Rennie's $25,000 a
plate luncheon and Vancouver land developer Rob Macdonald's $960,000
gift to the NPA in 2011, an amount that may very well have set a
record for a Canadian municipal election.
Alberta, a donor can give no more than $5,000 to a candidate
annually and must reside in Alberta – unlike the rules in B.C. that
allow citizens of other provinces and countries to donate to a local
campaign. In Mississauga, there is a cap of $750 on a donation to
any one candidate and the donor must reside in Ontario.
provinces have existing campaign finance rules for local elections
that could easily be adopted in Vancouver. They are Quebec, Ontario
and Manitoba. Since Vancouver is the only major Canadian city that
doesn't have wards – IntegrityBC would recommend the Ontario rules
as a basis for discussion among the parties and candidates.
caps campaign spending for mayor, council or school board trustee
candidates at 85 cents per elector.
“This isn't a big leap for Vancouver's municipal parties,” said Travis. “The four parties that have sat on council in the past eight years have all supported motions calling for electoral finance reform. This is a chance to show some leadership and put into practice what they've already agreed to. The will is there and there's sufficient time before this fall's elections to find the way.”
Dermod Travis is the executive director of IntegrityBC. www.integritybc.ca
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