Editorial from the North Shore News:
In case you can’t tell, election season is upon us.
With six months until the next municipal election, candidates are declaring their campaigns, seeking supporters (financial and electoral) and council meetings are stretching on into the night so everyone can make sure their point has been made. Repeatedly.
On the matter of campaign finance, if you’re the candidate asking for the money, there are a few things you should know.
A look at our last election’s results and campaign finance disclosure forms will show that you probably can’t get on council without spending a dime but you can spend in to the tens of thousands of dollars and still be relegated to watching council from the gallery.
One thing is for sure, though. If you take the money from a union, developer or business, be prepared to hear about it. Be prepared to explain why it doesn’t put you into a conflict of interest. The law is on your side but that will never be enough in the court of public opinion if you’re voting on an issue your financial backers have an interest in – and especially so if that issue is unpopular in segments of the community.
The sad part in this is that we must write an editorial along the lines of “We’d rather you not take questionable donations,” instead of one congratulating the province on changing the campaign finance laws to limit spending and restrict who can donate and how much they’re allowed to offer.
Despite it being one of the top wishes out of the 2013 review of election rules, the province put if off until 2017.
© North Shore News
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