VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Green Party of Vancouver has adopted a new donation policy and are calling for changes to the British Columbia Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA). Currently, LECFA regulations only apply to election campaigns and only require reporting during an election year — political parties’ day to day operations are exempt in both election years and non-election years.
Updates made to the LECFA in 2017 banned campaign contributions from corporate and special interests; limited contributions to BC residents; capped the amount each individual can donate at $1200 to a specific campaign; and mandated public disclosure of all donors and donation amounts over $100. As part of its new policy, the Green Party of Vancouver will apply the LECFA campaign contribution restrictions to its operating bank account, and post annual disclosures on its website.
“The Green Party of Vancouver is committed to keeping dark money and special interests out of local politics,” said John Whistler, Financial Agent for the Green Party of Vancouver.
“The updated LECFA is an improvement from previous elections, however it has gaping loopholes — not the least of which is that it doesn’t apply to political parties’ operating bank accounts or require disclosures outside of election years.
“As it stands, political parties can accept unlimited amounts of money for operational purposes from corporations, special interests and individuals, and they don’t have to disclose any of that information to the public.
“Both the provincial and federal levels have strict rules around political financing that include contributions for operational activities and annual disclosures. This is for good reason: money can have a huge impact on policies and on who gets elected. All you have to do is look south of the border to see the corrosive effect money has on politics.”
“The Green Party of Vancouver has a long standing commitment to transparency and accountability to the public interest — we refused donations from development companies many years before the provincial government took any sort of action. We will continue to release public contribution disclosures annually on our website and we urge other parties to do the same.”
On Tuesday December 10, 2019, City Councillor Pete Fry put forward a notice of motion seeking Council’s support to submit a resolution for consideration at the Union of BC Municipalities to lobby the Province to amend the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. Fry’s motion will be debated by City Council in January 2020.