EDITORIAL: Municipal election reforms welcome

The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development is considering banning anonymous contributions in municipal elections.

The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development is considering banning anonymous contributions in municipal elections.

The B.C. government is considering reforms to legislation that governs our every-third-year local elections. Details are expected in a white paper next month.

With local politics in some B.C. cities starting to emulate Vancouver’s party system and third-party campaigning, the time has come for voters to know who the would-be kingmakers are.

Minister Coralee Oakes indicates that new legislation will require third-party advertisers to register and disclose their identity.

Time allowed for consultation will delay campaign spending limits for candidates, organizations and third-party advertisers until the 2017 civic elections, but those changes are expected, too.

Oakes, who said she expects improved transparency and accountability, calls the reforms the greatest modernization of local government election legislation in nearly 20 years.

Changes would affect voting for municipal councils, school boards, regional districts and Islands Trust.

Although the response from the NDP local government Opposition critic is typically critical, the president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities is pleased by the proposals.

That’s no surprise considering the UBCM has been recommending local election reform.

The Comox Valley, for instance, is not close to Vancouver-style civic politics in which the NPA, Vision, COPE and the Green Party collectively spent $5.2 million in the 2011 elections.

Vancouver’s major municipal parties spent more than $15 for each vote they got.

In the Comox Valley, though, the shadowy Common Sense group changed the face of municipal elections in 2011 by endorsing candidates and pounding home the issue of local government spending.

In 2014, we should know who they are as well as the people who form the inevitable left-wing backlash.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com