With the news that Adrian Dix promises a ban on “big money”, and a quote: “big money is hurting democracy, and is causing the public to lose faith in politicians.”
is a column from Daphne Bramham suggesting questions to candidates on important issues: One question and partial quote, link follows:
Municipal election financing. In 2010, after numerous citizen complaints were made following the 2008 civic elections, a government-appointed task force recommended 31 changes to the Municipal Act based on more than 10,000 submissions it received (including one from the head of the RCMP’s commercial crime unit).
Key among the recommendations were: Spending limits for candidates, parties and third-party advertisers; a ban on anonymous donations; requiring advertising to say who paid for it; requiring third-party advertisers to register; shortening the time limit for postelection financial disclosure to 90 days; and, requiring financial disclosures to be published online so citizens are no longer required to go to the municipal hall to view them.
What the task force balked at recommending was a limit on donations and a ban on foreign donations, as well as much-needed changes to the lax conflict-of-interest rules for elected officials.
The Liberals promised to make the changes in time for the 2010 municipal elections. But that didn’t happen.
The task force’s recommendations remain valid. But bolstered with a cap on contributions similar to the existing one for provincial elections and better conflict rules, these could ensure that municipal elections are no longer “the Wild West,” as Bill Bennett declared them to be more than three years ago when he was community development minister.
After three years of inaction, shouldn’t this be a priority before the next round of municipal elections in 2014?