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.

Just Posted

Penticton city council gives itself pay raise

Decision was based on recommendation by an external task force that reviewed council’s remuneration

City to review plans for lake-to-lake cycling route in August

Council heard an update on the process to identify a route at the meeting on June 18

MPs hear retired Penticton nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Breaking bread for the final time at Penticton’s Walla Bakery

Beloved baker Ben Manea died suddenly on June 15, bakery to operate for one final week

Oliver man sentenced to 18 months for two firearm offences

Waylon Faulhafer prohibited from possessing a firearm for life and issued DNA order

Murray McLauchlan delights Okanagan crowd

Canadian music icon puts on wonderful two-hour show at Performing Arts Centre

Rose Valley Rd. fire in West Kelowna has reached 800 metres in size

West Kelowna Fire Chief says first two grass fires Tuesday were human caused

Life’s work of talented Shuswap sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Shuswap car dealership seeks return of unique stolen Jeep

The red 1989 four-by-four was taken from Salmon Arm GM’s lot early Monday morning.

College investigates Okanagan physiotherapist

Stephen Witvoet’s matters are currently before the courts

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Public weighs in Okanagan rail trail parking development

“It was a great evening to interact with the community and hear the input for the property”

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read