Community

Minister cautious on local election changes

Municipal politicians call for city hall recall, bans on corporate and union donations and running in multiple communities

Local politicians have called on the B.C. government to extend recall legislation to municipal halls and regional districts, after more than a decade of avoiding battles over voters trying to fire elected officials before their terms end.

At their annual convention last week, mayors and councillors also passed resolutions to ban corporate and union donations to local election candidates, and asked for legislation to prevent people from running for office in multiple communities.

Communities Minister Peter Fassbender, new to his job but a veteran of local politics, responded cautiously to the suggestions, particularly the idea of extending recall.

“I think very often recall becomes something where it is seen as a weapon as opposed to something that actually makes a contribution,” Fassbender said in an interview. “And I think before we moved on anything we would want to have a fulsome discussion.”

Delegates to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention rejected the idea of recall in 1998 and again in 2003, but a new generation elected to four-year terms supported the idea.

Rookie Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen sponsored the motion, arguing that the 2011 referendum to reject the harmonized sales tax “empowered the people,” and recall at the provincial level hasn’t encouraged “rabble rousers advocating for special interests.”

Repen said his friends would have laughed if he had told them he was running for mayor, and if he’s no good at the job, the community shouldn’t have to put up with him for four years.

Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal spoke in favour of the UBCM’s latest call to restrict campaign donations, noting that donations from wealthy developers and unions in the city have now reached into the millions of dollars.

View Royal Mayor David Screech got support for his resolution calling for a ban on running in more than one municipality. He said the same candidate has repeatedly run for mayor all 13 Victoria-area communities, and “the media was more interested in him than the legitimate candidates.”

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor opposed the motion, noting that the perennial candidate got only 91 votes against him.

Fassbender was also reluctant to take action based on one situation.

“You really want to give some sober thought to it instead of just reacting to someone who is trying to create some controversy,” Fassbender said.

Just Posted

“It’s something you’re called to do”: Cullen reflects on time as MP

For Nathan Cullen, it’s not goodbye, it’s farewell.

Local artist Sesyaz Saunders’ art on display at YVR

Saunders worked with renowned artist Robert Davidson on a large panel

Mother dog, 9 puppies dumped in sealed box at Puntzi Lake landfill: SPCA

Puppies will be available for adoption at seven weeks old

B.C. government provides $100,000 to CCCTA for emergency preparedness

The marketing organizations will use this funding to create a common set of communications tools

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Most Read