AT Tuesday’s Vancouver City Council meeting, Councillor Pete Fry’s motion calling for local political finance reform passed unanimously after a number of supportive amendments were added by his fellow councillors from across the political spectrum.
Fry’s motion calls for annual contribution limits, mandatory public disclosures, and the elimination of all corporate and special interest donations to municipal political parties.
The motion very specifically targets election finance contributions outside the campaign period that otherwise are remitted unreported to operating budgets, often referred to as “dark money.”
This is the first of many steps needed to improve the regulations around local political financing. Fry’s motion must next be debated and passed at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA), and then Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) in order to be recommended to the provincial government, who are ultimately responsible for changing the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA).
“I’m grateful to Council for the support and enhancement of my original motion,” said Fry. “I strongly believe that transparency and financial regulations are essential parts of our democracy.
“I am looking forward to discussing this issue further with local government representatives from around the region and am hopeful we will see the same level of support for reform as we saw here today.
“I have been advocating for political finance reform for years now and am proud to be able to move this important work forward. Improving the regulations around transparency and contributions can only serve to further the public interest.”
The amendments added by other councillors will be going to LMLGA and UBCM as separate motions for consideration. The full list of amendments and final motion will be posted in the minutes to the City’s website later this week.