UBCM delegates call for reforms

Local government election reform is a hot topic. UBCM delegates reversed their previous position and now want four-year terms .

Support for a phased approach to local government elections reform, a call for four-year terms and a request to allow Vancouver to make rules related to greater limits on spending and contributions and provide for greater disclosure, were key topics discussed at a meeting between the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and Parliamentary Secretary, Linda Reimer, MLA.

On Sept. 25, 2013, UBCM President Rhona Martin and First Vice-President Sav Dhaliwal met with MLA Linda Reimer to convey UBCM’s feedback on the Province’s recently released White Paper on Local Government Elections Reform.

UBCM reiterated its support for the phased approach that would implement changes in 2014 to improve accountability, transparency, and compliance and enforcement, but defer implementation of expense limits until further consultations take place.

President Martin expressed support for the phased approach recognizing that more work needed to be done on how best to set expense limits that would work for all of the election players.

One of the key messages to MLA Reimer was the need for information, education and advice about the changes to ensure that all players are aware of the new rules and processes that will be in place for 2014.

B.C. is currently the only province with a three-year term for local politicians.

At last month’s UBCM convention 60 per cent of the delegates voted to request a move to a four-year term for civic elections. Members also confirmed their support for no corporate vote and adopted new policy in support of Vancouver’s request that would allow the city to make rules for election campaign finance that place greater limits on campaign spending and contributions, and provide for greater disclosure.

British Columbians are invited to provide feedback on Local Government Elections Reform by the Oct. 23 deadline at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/consultations/local_elections.page

For further information on elections reform please visit the Local Government Elections section of ubcm.ca