"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Shining a light on campaign financing

I just received this press release from the BC government, re new rules for municipal elections. Interesting and important stuff. I am in agreement with the proposed rules re disclosure. In fact, I believe the rules around disclosure should go even further. For instance, anyone receiving a contribution from a person or organization with a DIRECT financial relationship with the city -- such as a garbage-collection contractor of a trade union that represents municipal workers -- should report that donation immediately, while the campaign is still underway. The public has a right to know this information before the votes are cast, not after.

For Immediate Release
Aug. 21, 2013 

Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development 

Modernization of local government elections 

VICTORIA - The Province is moving ahead with making changes to the rules regarding local government elections, Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Culural Development, announced today. 

The intended changes are the most significant to local elections legislation in nearly two decades and are a reflection of the recommendations of the joint Provincial and Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Local Government Elections Task Force. 

Local government election rules apply to municipalities, regional districts, parks boards, the Islands Trust and boards of education. 
Local election rules will be modernized in two phases: 

* A white paper outlining government's intentions will be released in early September and legislation is scheduled to be introduced in Spring 2014 to implement task force recommendations, except expense limits, for the 2014 local elections.
* Consultation with key stakeholders on expense limits will be undertaken 
starting in November. This consultation will inform further legislative 
changes for the 2017 elections. 

The rules for next year's November elections will be consolidated in a proposed new act for campaign finance in local elections. Details of these changes will be included in the white paper to be released early this fall. Some highlights include: 

* Disclosure and registration by third-party advertisers. 
* Sponsorship information to be required on all election advertising. 
* All campaign finance disclosure statements to be filed 90 days after the election rather than 120 days. 
* Banning anonymous contributions. 

The proposed legislation also will enable a key role for Elections BC in compliance and enforcement of campaign finance rules in local elections. 


Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development - 

"We are committed to ensuring that election participants are fully aware of any changes well in advance of the Nov. 15, 2014, local elections. These changes are about enhancing transparency and accountability." 

"UBCM was a significant partner in developing the recommendations that have informed our legislative process. We appreciate UBCM's continued advice and support as we move forward." 

Mary Sjostrom, president, Union of BC Municipalities - 

"UBCM is pleased to see that the Province is moving forward on elections legislation. The phased approach they are adopting will help ensure the changes will work for the full range of communities in B.C. All candidates will look forward to learning what the rules will be for the 2014 

Quick Facts: 

* Local government elections are held every three years in British Columbia. The next election is scheduled for Nov. 15, 2014. 
* The purpose of a white paper is to indicate government's direction prior to the introduction of legislation. White papers also can serve as educational tools. 
* The campaign finance rules apply to election participants including candidates, elector organizations, and third party advertisers in local elections. 
* The deadline for public comment on the white paper is Oct. 23, 2013. 
* A website link and email address will be provided when the white paper is released. 
* The Local Government Elections Task Force received well over 10,000 written indications of opinion on the topics it reviewed and on other aspects of local elections. 


Community, Sport and Cultural Development
250 387-4089 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

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