Political donations require transparency

The promise from the provincial government that spending limits will be in place for municipal elections by 2018…

The promise from the provincial government that spending limits will be in place for municipal elections by 2018 is curious on a number of levels.

First, interested members of the public have only until Dec. 5 to make submissions or fill out an online questionnaire (www.leg.bc.ca/cmt/leel/submissions.asp) for the special legislative committee which has already been gathering input.

Municipal politicians are legally obligated to divulge campaign contributors and amounts, but only after the elections, when the dust has settled.

It goes against nature to suppose that someone who has received significant financial backing from a specific interest will not feel beholden in some way, somewhere down the line. And those who lay out large sums of money likely consider it an investment. Politicians can’t ignore that the electorate is becoming far more suspicious of where their campaign contributions are coming from – which is why, in the recent civic election, most Vancouver candidates – made a point of disclosing the information before election day, long before it was mandatory.

There is writing on the wall here – even at the federal level. Even though the Conservatives made it illegal to accept union and corporate campaign donations in 2006, abuses have been recorded. And the public is increasingly wary of large sums being spent by federal parties on image and attack ads – particularly prior to elections, when spending is not subject to the same rules and scrutiny.

-Peace Arch News

 

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