Last November a significant motion was passed by North Vancouver City Council on campaign finance reform. A number of the core ideas in this motion could be reviewed and incorporated into legislation by the Province of British Columbia. The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development has set a deadline of January 31, 2014 for public comment on Expense Limits for Local Government Elections Reform.
The City of North Vancouver Council voted 4-3 to support a motion submitted by Councillor Heywood at a Council meeting on Monday, November 4th, 2013. The main part of the motion reads: “…the City of North Vancouver strongly urges all candidates for election to Council to abstain from accepting donations from developers with projects or potential projects before Council or from labour unions that represent employees of the City…”
While the motion is not binding, it does show significant guidance for updated rules related to perceived and possible conflicts of interest by elected officials.
The discussions on the motion are available on an archived video stream (link here, start at 02:40:39). The quality of the discourse on this motion was quite impressive and the discussions covered many of the key issues at the core of finance reform. Public comments were also made in favour of this motion (link here, start at 4:35). At the end of the debate, Councillors Bell, Bookham, Clark and Heywood all voted in favour of the motion (pictured above and in inset).
Voting against the motion were Councillor Buchanan, Councillor Keating and Mayor Mussatto (pictured below):
In addition to the archived Council video, we also have original footage of campaign finance reform debate at North Vancouver Council:
While the text of the motion is not binding, the acceptance of this motion may help encourage the Province of British Columbia to act on a very most important aspect of campaign finance reform. All municipalities in Metro Vancouver, the government of BC and the Union of BC Municipalities were sent copies of this motion.
Further details on Campaign Finance Reform in North Vancouver are available on North Van City Voices. The North Van City Voices website also has a subsequent post that outlines a suggested amendment to the motion (November 30, 2013).
The full text of the motion follows:
23. Financing of Election Campaigns – File: 4200 – 01
Submitted by: Councillor Heywood
Moved by Councillor Heywood, seconded by Councillor Clark
WHEREAS the Provincial Government’s recent effort to reform local government elections did not deal with the source of election campaign funds;
AND WHEREAS the appearance of a conflict of interest is created when developers and unions that make significant contributions to election campaigns of candidates for Council also have matters that come before Council and that whether or not these conflicts are permitted in law, they harm the reputation of Council and impair the legitimacy of its decisions;
BE IT RESOLVED THAT while this resolution does not have the force of law, the City of North Vancouver strongly urges all candidates for election to Council to abstain from accepting donations from developers with projects or potential projects before Council or from labour unions that represent employees of the City; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the other Metro Vancouver municipalities, UBCM and the Provincial Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.