Election spending limits scrutinized

Penticton residents will have a chance to participate in the provincial consultations for limits on spending during local elections.

It’s not uncommon, even at the municipal level, to question the amount of money candidates spend to win an election.

This April, Penticton residents will have a chance to participate directly in the provincial consultations for limits on spending during local elections.

The Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits is examining expense limit amounts for local elections candidates, including limits for mayors, councillors, school trustees and other offices. The all-party committee is also examining expense limit amounts for third party advertisers.

A public hearing is planned for April 2 in Penticton, from 3 to 6 p.m. at a location yet to be decided. There will also be opportunities to participate in regional public hearings or by conference call, and meetings will also be held in Surrey, Terrace, Fort St. John, Prince George, Kamloops, Cranbrook and Vancouver.

“We want to continue hearing from British Columbians about what would be appropriate local elections expense limits for candidates and third party advertisers,” said Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart, who chairs the all-party committee.

For the 2014 municipal election, the amounts spent ranged from zero, up to nearly $22,000 spent by Mayor Andrew Jakubeit.

He said it might be a good thing to have limits on how much can be spent.

“It is an excessive amount of money that has to be raised for an election process and to  engage with the citizens to say who you are and what you believe in,” said Jakubeit. “To some degree it would level the playing field. If everyone had a limit of x dollars, I think you can still get the message out.”

Jakubeit said the spending helps, but it is more important to engage with the community.

“The community has to have some sort of name recognition and see that they (the candidates) have been involved with the community,” said Jakubeit.

The committee is also inviting stakeholders and the public to make a written submission expressing their views on spending limits for candidates and third party advertisers during local elections. The deadline for written submissions is April 17, 2015.

“These submissions will make an important contribution to the committee’s deliberations on expense limit amounts,” said deputy chair Selina Robinson, Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA.

Other members of the all-party committee include: Mike Bernier, MLA, Peace River South; Gary Holman, MLA, Saanich North and the Islands; Marvin Hunt, MLA, Surrey-Panorama; Jenny Wai Ching Kwan, MLA, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant; Linda Reimer, MLA, Port Moody-Coquitlam; Sam Sullivan, MLA, Vancouver-False Creek.

To make a written submission, or to learn more about the work of the committee, visit www.leg.bc.ca.cmt.leel.

 

Penticton Western News

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