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

Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

Interior Health nurses were administering COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aides in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Kelowna martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health previously issued a ticket to Flow Academy in February for non-compliance with public health orders

Forward Elan Bar Lev Wise of the West Kelowna Warriors (right, shown playing for the Vernon Vipers in 2019) has been suspended nine games by the B.C. Hockey League for being the instigator and aggressor in an after-the-game fight with Vernon’s Kjell Kjemhus Monday, April 12, at Kal Tire Place. Kjemhus was given a two-game suspension for his role in the fight after the game was over. (Morning Star - file photo)
West Kelowna Warriors forward handed lengthy suspension

Elan Bar Lev Wise fought Vernon Vipers forward Kjell Kjemhus after BCHL game was over Monday, April 12; Kjemhus suspended two games

A worker is seen dismantling the damaged crane on April 13. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Crews dismantle crane damaged in Glenmore Construction fire

The crane expected to be removed by the end of the day

The Okanagan Forest Task Force’s only means of getting garbage out of the backcountry broke down on Tuesday, April 6. (Kane Blake - Okanagan Forest Task Force)
Okanagan forest cleanup group’s truck repaired free of charge

Okanagan Forest Task Force uses the truck to haul garbage out of the backcountry

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 so far

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

A shop up on Grand Oro Road near Twin Lakes burned down on Monday. (Facebook)
Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

WATCH: Conservation group releases short doc on saving South Okanagan’s ‘precious’ Sickle Point

Sickle Point, the last intact wetland near Skaha Lake, is facing the prospect of development

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Skaha Lake Middle School. (File photo)
COVID exposure at Penticton middle school

Skaha Middle School is the latest in growing lists of exposure in the Okanagan

Most Read