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Motion to limit political campaign spending to go through Vancouver City Council

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DH Vancouver Staff Jul 20, 2015 12:49 pm

A motion to limit the amount of money a politician can spend on a political campaign in Vancouver will be proposed by City Council once again by Adriane Carr.

This will be the sixth time the motion has appeared in front of council.

Carr told Vancity Buzz that she is bringing this through council once again in response to the recommendations of the BC Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits calling for campaign spending caps. She feels they didn’t deal with significant issues related to Vancouver Civic Elections.

“Spending limits, which the motion does deal with inadequately, has to be coupled with limits on donations,” she said.

“I’m looking for our staff to draft recommendations to amend the Vancouver City Charter and incorporate the kinds of changes that will make our elections much more fair.”

Carr said she wants to see limits on donations made by any single individual to $5,000 per year to all candidates, which is similar to what Toronto has done.

“It arises out of the concern we see for people donating over $100,000 in the last elections. Two elections ago, one individual donated $940,000 and we saw one corporation donating $360,000 in the last campaign. I mean, these are huge amounts,” she said.

She says that while there are no laws in place that say these donations influence decisions, she believes they do sway voters.

And while she does not think accepting donations is immoral, she does think it is borne out of necessity to keep up.

“Money wins elections, and that’s my concern. In fact, money has won elections. It absolutely does sway the end result of elections.”

“I think people do what’s practical when it’s allowed. So in this case, the law has to step in to say ‘no it’s not allowed by anybody’ and then people will ramp down their spending.”

When asked how to guarantee and prevent under-the-table dealings, Carr said that’s up to law enforcement officers.

“We have to publicly report income and election expenses – and I’m saying lets make sure we report it on an annual basis between elections too because electoral organizations don’t just disappear,” she said.

She adds she has yet to receive any opposition from other council members.

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DH Vancouver Staff
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