Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

There was a rare display of non-partisan agreement at the B.C. legislature Thursday as debate began on bringing municipal election finance rules into line with provincial restrictions on fundraising and campaigns.

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne, who was mayor of Tofino until the October election, said the changes are mainly based on 2018 recommendations of B.C.’s Chief Electoral Officer. They include extending the official campaign period for local elections from 29 to 89 days, restricting third-party donations and preventing local political slates from accepting money for operating expenses between elections.

“This new framework will result in elector organizations being treated more like provincial political parties under the Election Act, but continues to accommodate the elements that make local elections unique from provincial elections,” Osborne told the legislature March 4. “Changes to the rules governing election advertising will enhance the transparency of advertising by making it clear who is sponsoring advertising during the pre-campaign period.

“The types of activities that are captured as election advertising will be clarified. This will ensure that paid canvassing activities, such as door-to-door canvassing or canvassing by telephone and mailing election materials on a commercial basis, will be subject to election advertising rules.”

RELATED: B.C. political parties reap millions from subsidies

RELATED: Horgan vows to stop local corporate, union donations

B.C. Liberal MLA Dan Ashton, a former mayor of Penticton, said he expects his fellow opposition members to support the legislation after detailed discussion. He said the inclusion of paid canvassers as a registered advertising expense and the a $1,200 cap for third parties donating are overdue reforms. He expects more debate on a change that allows campaigning politicians and canvassers into strata condo units.

“It provides Elections B.C. with additional penalties to fine people who do not comply with the rules and the process, and it also removes the 30-day local residency requirement in order to vote, as that has pros and cons,” Ashton said.

“It allows access for strata properties and other properties for canvassing. I look upon my peers that are from the Lower Mainland and look at all those large towers inhabited by residents and wonder how they have the opportunity to be able to show those residents what they want to do for them. That’s a difficult process, and I hope that that also comes into consideration in the future.”

Jinny Sims, NDP MLA for Surrey Panorama, welcomed new restrictions on “pseudo-parties that operate as electoral organizations” in civic elections. Osborne noted that election slates or municipal parties are mainly a Lower Mainland phenomenon now, but with technology and advertising changing quickly, the province needs to be ready to regulate elections for councils, school boards and regional districts.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read