Thursday, October 18, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Don't you just hate it folks when our elected representatives play political games for opportunistic reasons?

Case in point is the recent announcement by Councillor Heather Deal and her Vision party to oppose corporate and union donations in Vancouver municipal politics.

While it is important that we have campaign finance reform, especially at the municipal level, and in fact, COPE Councillor, David Cadman has long championed this issue from a public interest perspective.

Now here comes Heather Deal and her Vision party, two years after being elected suddenly articulating the need to ban corporate and union donations.

It needs pointing out Ms Deal and Vision gladly accepted a million dollars of funding during the 2005 municipal campaign from corporate, development, union, gambling and bar industry interests. Moreover, Councillor Deal with open arms received an endorsement and financial support from the Vancouver Firefighters Union.

Suddenly she and her colleagues are posturing on this issue which they know very well would take a change to the Vancouver Charter which must be granted by the provincial government. Council would also need to vote on this issue before it could even go before the provincial government and I suspect the NPA which controls a majority on Council, knows this announcement by Councillor Deal and Vision is just a bunch of political mischief making. I'm certain the NPA knows that Vision is quite insincere on this issue.

A number of Vision Councillors namely, Raymond Louie and Tim Stevenson, voted in favour of many corporate developments before the city, knowing they would receive political pay-back in the form of hefty corporate donors during campaign season.

Vision supported increased gambling in our City through the permitting of allowing Slots in Hastings park (PNE) to developer Wall financial group. In turn, Wall financial donated $10,000.00 to the Vision campaign. Big Corporate donors to the Vision campaign included Developers and Realtors like Bob Rennie who was granted a high stake in the Woodwards re-development. Mr. Rennie donated $78,000.00 to the Vision Party in return. And let us not forget online gambling guru, John Lefebvre, who donated a whopping $178,000.00 to Vision. Bar interests donated close to $400,000.00 to Vision.

Yet here is Vision and Councillor Deal now proclaiming they would like to see these corporate donations banned.

The NPA Council is not stupid and they will vote down Vision's proposal when it comes before council, which is unfortunate since we really do need campaign finance reform, so special interests cannot hijack the democratic political process.

Ordinary voting citizens have far less power than these corporate entities who for the most part don't even have voting rights in our City. Their political influence is directly attributed to their handsome campaign donations.

What Vision and Ms Deal should have done right after being elected was to call for a striking of an all-party committee to look into campaign finance reform. The public would as a result been consulted and this process would have ensured some form of change.

Yet here it is one year before the next municipal election and there is no way what Ms Deal is suggesting will be entertained at this point. She knows this yet she mistakenly believes that voters are gullible enough to be taken in by her crass and insincere political moves.

If Ms Deal and Vision were sincere and exhibited political integrity, they would announce that corporate, development, gambling and bar industry donations are not welcome in their party. They would also challenge the NPA for the sake of democracy to follow suit.

But don't hold your breath folks waiting for this to happen.

The only method citizens now have at their disposal is to vote for candidates in the 2008 election who demonstrate their unwillingness to accept or entertain corporate donations.

Make campaign finance reform a real issue in 2008.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


At 3:42 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Deal is the same lady who said that she opposed extra lanes on the Port Mann Bridge and move HOV lanes because she didn't want any cars from Surrey coming ot Vancouver.

In retort I can safely say that most of the homeless people in Surrey were forced out of the DERA.

However Mayor Diane Watts has never confirmed reports that since the Skytrain extension to King George Highway, crime and homelessness has risen in Surrey.

What can we expect from a Brit expat who became a US citizen to seek her fortune, only to become attracted to Lotusland because of her strong leftist roots?


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