EDITORIAL: Civic election reforms welcome

Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development is considering banning anonymous contributions in municipal elections

The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development is considering banning anonymous contributions in municipal elections.

The B.C. government is considering reforms to legislation that governs our every-third-year local elections. Details are expected in a white paper next month.

With local politics in some B.C. cities starting to emulate Vancouver’s party system and third-party campaigning, the time has come for voters to know who the would-be kingmakers are.

Minister Coralee Oakes indicates that new legislation will require third-party advertisers to register and disclose their identity.

Time allowed for consultation will delay campaign spending limits for candidates, organizations and third-party advertisers until the 2017 civic elections, but those changes are expected, too.

Oakes, who said she expects improved transparency and accountability, calls the reforms the greatest modernization of local government election legislation in nearly 20 years.

Changes would affect voting for municipal councils, school boards and regional districts.

Although the response from the NDP local government opposition critic is typically critical, the president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities is pleased by the proposals.

That’s no surprise considering the UBCM has been recommending local election reform.

Vancouver-style civic politics saw the NPA, Vision, COPE and the Green Party collectively spent $5.2 million in the 2011 elections.

Vancouver’s major municipal parties spent more than $15 for each vote they got.