VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Tuesday January 21, 2020, City Councillor Pete Fry will introduce a motion aimed at closing the loopholes in the current financial regulations which pertain to municipal politics.
Fry is calling for transparency around political finance outside of election years and campaigns.
Amendments meant to restrict political contributions were made to the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA) in 2017, but they only apply to campaign financing during an election year — the operating accounts for elector organizations (political parties or organizations that endorse a candidate in an election) remain unregulated.
“This is in the public interest,” said Fry. “It’s in candidates and parties’ interestss too, because transparency removes any potential misperception of influence.
“As it stands, municipal parties and candidates are not required to make any financial information public outside of an election year and they can accept unlimited amounts of money from corporations, development companies and individuals.
“The public deserves to know who is funding political parties and they deserve an even playing field.
“Financial regulations are the cornerstone of responsible and accountable governments. They should apply at all times, not just during election years. The possibility for undue influence doesn’t end when an election does; if anything the potential for conflicts of interest is even greater once someone is elected.
“I strongly believe that politicians and political parties exist to serve the people who elect them. Special interest groups and wealthy individuals shouldn’t be able to contribute at a level far beyond what the average person in Vancouver can afford.
“I trust my fellow Councillors will support this motion both in Vancouver and regionally at UBCM. I don't see any legitimate reason why they wouldn’t - this is the right thing to do.”
Fry is also calling on Council to reconvene the Independent Election Task Force to report on campaign financing. As a follow up to this motion, Councillor Fry will be organizing a roundtable discussion on municipal election issues.