By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD
Union of B.C. Municipalities convention delegates had a change of heart today (Sept. 28, 2017), bringing back a resolution on election-campaign donations and passing an amended version of it.
The original wording of the resolution proposed that any changes to provincial campaign donation rules be extended to civic elections. On Wednesday, after some wrangling, they had referred it to the UBCM executive for further discussion.
Today, however, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps proposed that the resolution be reconsidered, based on the fact that Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson said in a speech after Wednesday’s policy session that the government was “working on” changes to the regulations.
This, she said, constituted “new information,” making a motion to reconsider yesterday’s decision in order. Some delegates thought that was a pretty thin rationale, but there was an obvious appetite to do something, so the referral motion was brought back and defeated.
It had already been amended once to eliminate taxpayer subsidies to incumbent civic candidates, but was amended again to state that “the Province also implement reforms” to civic campaign donations “in consultation with UBCM.”
The amendment was carried, and so was the main motion as amended, and everybody was happy that the sloppy wording of the original motion had been repaired.
It doesn’t guarantee civic campaigns will be included if campaign-donation rules are tightened up as expected, because UBCM resolutions aren’t binding on the provincial government.
However, there’s no reason to think it won’t happen, the only real question being whether it will happen for the next civic elections in October 2018.
CONVENTION NOTES: Delegates debated a host of other resolutions Thursday, including one from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District on gas-tax funding for stratas and private not-for-profit utilities, Unfortunately, it was defeated. I’ll write more about that later…. A resolution from Vanderhoof asking for cessation of all train whistles was defeated. A resolution allowing local governments to independently implement photo radar was approved. So was one asking for a provincial strategy on controlling rats. Well over 100 resolutions were dealt with Thursday…. If it’s unclear by a show of hands whether a resolution has a majority, delegates vote electronically with handheld clickers. A practice vote that asked for the correct Canadian word for a large two-seat piece of furniture decided by a 51.2% margin that “chesterfield” is the correct term…. Kamloops Coun. Dieter Dudy was nominated for a position as director-at-large on the UBCM executive….