Voices comment: This is news from Ontario, recent campaigns in BC have not resulted in similar changes. From a North Shore News editorial in February 2015: ‘Local government should not be a hobby for the independently wealthy or a business expense for developers’. The majority slate (Mussatto, Back, Buchanan and Keating) on Council in the City of North Van was primarily funded by developers, businesses and unions.
From The Star:
Reforms to the Municipal Elections Act expected to be announced Monday could let municipalities ban corporate donations.
quoting in part:
“We realized it was important to get councils in place who prioritize the protection of the environment and the interests of their citizens at least as much as they prioritize the development industry interests,” she said.
Among other findings in the report:
- Money from the development industry makes up more than half (54 per cent) of all donations received from corporations.
- Development industry funding is far greater where the value of the building permits is the highest and where more developers have projects in the approval process that are dependent on council decisions.
- Almost 60 per cent of corporate donations to candidates came from outside the municipality where the candidate was running — and 73 per cent of developer donations came from outside the municipality.
- Citizen engagement in municipal politics is low. Just one person in 650 in the 13 municipalities MacDermid studied contributed more than $100.
- Nearly half of the candidates self-financed their campaigns.
MacDermid says the influence of the development industry on elections is not remote, and directly affects the quality of life of residents.
“Just look at the GTA,” he said. “There is urban sprawl everywhere. That was developer choices and politician’s choices.
“The evidence is everywhere for us to see about what was the impact of this relationship. We are all paying the cost of this relationship.”