New rules coming for elections

Local candidates in upcoming elections will have to adhere to new financial guidelines.

by Tom Fletcher

Black Press

VICTORIA – Candidates for municipal and school board elections will have to register with Elections BC and report donations of $50 or more when they run in province-wide elections this November.

Legislation tabled by the B.C. government Wednesday will extend the term of office to four years as well as tightening rules for campaign financing and advertising. Third-party advertisers will also have to register before promoting candidates, and financial disclosures will have to be filed with Elections BC within 90 days of the vote.

Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes said the new rules have been developed in consultation with the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and that discussion determined that an outright ban on anonymous donations is too strict. The disclosure rule will also apply to third-party advertisers, who will have to report sources of donations more than $50 and identify themselves in advertising.

Campaign spending limits won’t be imposed until after the elections scheduled for Nov. 15, 2014. Oakes said that measure is complex because the variety of local governments in B.C. is the widest in Canada, including large and small communities, regional districts, school boards, park boards and the Islands Trust that governs the Gulf Islands.

The legislation also moves the date of local elections from November to October, but that won’t take effect until 2018.

UBCM president Rhona Martin, a director of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, said the move to four-year terms is not a “perfect solution,” but it was supported by a majority of delegates at last year’s convention. In previous votes, some small community representatives said even three-year terms may be too long for a time-consuming commitment with little pay.

The change in reporting rules creates a large task of compliance and enforcement for Elections BC. Oakes said the Elections BC will present its proposed costs to the legislature committee that determines budgets for all independent officers, including the Auditor General.

Just Posted

Cache Creek council votes to rejoin local transit system

Details need to be worked out, but hopes are that change can be expedited

Ashcroft residents get information at Community Forum

Water treatment plant, recycling, an Eco-Depot, the budget, and more among items addressed

Elizabeth May’s wedding will be a ‘low-carbon affair’ in Victoria on Earth Day

Green party leader’s wedding party to depart in a cavalcade of electric cars

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read