Vision backtracks on campaign finance commitment and dumps Anton's motion into bureaucratic trashbin
As predicted earlier by CityCaucus.com, a motion brought forward by Councillor Suzanne Anton to reform campaign financing in Vancouver was promptly shot down by the Vision majority government. While in opposition, Vision had previously pushed for signficant reforms to campaign financing including caps on maximum donations and the elimination of contributions from unions or corporations.
As they say...that was then, this is now.
As part of our Know Your Donor series, my colleague Mike Klassen has been raising awareness regarding who is financing civic campaigns in Vancouver. In particular, a number of eyebrows have been raised regarding how American foundations and citizens have taken a financial interest in Vision Vancouver's civic campaign.
Had Anton's motion passed, it would have resulted in the prohibition of donations from foreign sources as well as continuous disclosure of all contributions received by candidates and political parties. The following is a copy of her motion:
1. Donations from foreign sources have been received by local candidates and
2. Federal election laws prevent receiving donations from foreign sources;
3. The Vancouver Charter is not clear in regard to certain nomination expenses;
4. The Vancouver Charter is not clear in regard to settlement of campaign debts;
5. The Vancouver Charter is not clear regarding the role of a person making
contributions on behalf of another person.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT this Council request that the Government of British
Columbia amend the Vancouver Charter as follows:
1. Prohibit the receipt of donations from foreign sources;
2. Require the disclosure of nomination expenses by all elected officials,
regardless of which nomination they were seeking;
3. Require continuous disclosure of all donations made to settle campaign debts;
4. Prohibit political contributions with the money, other property or services of
Vision took Anton's motion and promptly asked for another costly "study." As a result, you can expect the rules which permitted a $4 million dollar civic campaign in 2008 will be the same rules supporting a $5+ million campaign in 2011.
In other words, Vision's lack of support for Anton's campaign finance reform motion is yet another broken promise from Mayor Robertson and his Vision colleagues.