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.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

The Horsefly highway at the Bells Lake Road junction is closed Friday morning, April 23, 2021. (Eric Irving Facebook photo)
‘There is no simple solution’: Floodwaters collapse Horsefly Road east of Williams Lake

Beaver Valley Road to Likely Road the best option for those with cars

Red dresses hang in front of the Cariboo Friendship Centre in Williams Lake. (Photo submitted)
Advocates call for stronger judicial protection for women of domestic violence

May 5 is National Day of Awareness on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

First Journey Trails CEO Thomas Schoen (from left), Jimco Services’ James Doerfling, Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars and Sugar Cane Archaeology’s Marvin Bob break ground on a new mountain biking trail network project at WLFN. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
WATCH: Williams Lake First Nation breaks ground on multi-use bike trail project

Phase one of the project will see the construction of a 1,750-metre hiking and biking trail

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

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

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Most Read