Nearly a million dollars from a corporation. Almost half that from one individual. Eye popping numbers, and both real donations in recent Vancouver elections.
Now, with controversy putting political donations in the spotlight, Vancouver Councillor Andrea Reimer is making her ninth call for campaign finance rules at the municipal level.
Speaking on the Lynda Steele Show, Reimer says it’s time to ban unlimited corporate, union, and individual donations, and wants the province to hold a referendum in 2017 on allowing cities to bring in such rules.
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She says it’s unbelievable that city like Vancouver currently allows an unregulated flow of cash into parties coffers.
“At any level of government internationally – it’s the kind of thing that we look at other countries international and it would give us concerns about the state of their democracy, and yet we seem to accept it as just the way things are here in our municipalities.”
Reimer says the problem goes beyond influence on parties, to whether or not people have faith in their government.
“The issue is perception. And trust in democracy and government has never been lower at any level of government. And this is a simple, easy way to rebuild that trust.”
The provincial government has been conducting a review of municipal campaign finance rules, and earlier this month passed the Local Election Campaign Financing Amendment Act.
That legislation does not restrict donations, and Reimer says it’s rules on spending are weak.
“They’ll only count for 28 days before the election, which is a very short amount of time, and any money spent outside that window never even has to be disclosed.”
Council votes next week on whether call on the province to make the issue a ballot question in 2017.