Community

Minister cautious on local election changes

Municipal politicians call for city hall recall, bans on corporate and union donations and running in multiple communities

Local politicians have called on the B.C. government to extend recall legislation to municipal halls and regional districts, after more than a decade of avoiding battles over voters trying to fire elected officials before their terms end.

At their annual convention last week, mayors and councillors also passed resolutions to ban corporate and union donations to local election candidates, and asked for legislation to prevent people from running for office in multiple communities.

Communities Minister Peter Fassbender, new to his job but a veteran of local politics, responded cautiously to the suggestions, particularly the idea of extending recall.

“I think very often recall becomes something where it is seen as a weapon as opposed to something that actually makes a contribution,” Fassbender said in an interview. “And I think before we moved on anything we would want to have a fulsome discussion.”

Delegates to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention rejected the idea of recall in 1998 and again in 2003, but a new generation elected to four-year terms supported the idea.

Rookie Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen sponsored the motion, arguing that the 2011 referendum to reject the harmonized sales tax “empowered the people,” and recall at the provincial level hasn’t encouraged “rabble rousers advocating for special interests.”

Repen said his friends would have laughed if he had told them he was running for mayor, and if he’s no good at the job, the community shouldn’t have to put up with him for four years.

Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal spoke in favour of the UBCM’s latest call to restrict campaign donations, noting that donations from wealthy developers and unions in the city have now reached into the millions of dollars.

View Royal Mayor David Screech got support for his resolution calling for a ban on running in more than one municipality. He said the same candidate has repeatedly run for mayor all 13 Victoria-area communities, and “the media was more interested in him than the legitimate candidates.”

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor opposed the motion, noting that the perennial candidate got only 91 votes against him.

Fassbender was also reluctant to take action based on one situation.

“You really want to give some sober thought to it instead of just reacting to someone who is trying to create some controversy,” Fassbender said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberni floor curlers win tournament in Nanoose Bay

Four teams from Port Alberni compete on the road

Award-winning documentary shares the modern story of Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Broadcast premiere of documentary will take place in Port Alberni on Jan. 29

Australian investigators head to C-130 plane crash site

B.C. gov’t makes statement, sends condolences to Coulson Aviation

UPDATED: Tofino-Ucluelet highway to open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday before shutting down for 24 hours

Vehicles will be screened at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and at Sproat Lake.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read