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

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP have dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

Sidney staff recommends additional outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes

Report before council also leaves open possibility of closing a portion of Beacon Avenue

French fries to juicy tomatoes, rock art brings joy to walkers in Victoria

James Bay yard filled with painted rocks delights all ages

‘Depression-era’ unemployment figures could hit Greater Victoria

South Island Prosperity Project launches new dashboard to measure effects of COVID-19

Langford bartender hosts singalong livestream for seniors

Live Senior Singalong takes place daily at 1 p.m. on Facebook

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read