Monday, November 05, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC

Ban Municipal Parties

In the news lately there has been much speculation about campaign finance reform at the Vancouver municipal level.

Councillor Heather Deal, of the Vision party has submitted a motion that would seek to ban corporate and union donations. This motion will be heard sometime in the future.

This political move by Ms Deal will go nowhere. The parties at the municipal level, including, NPA, VISION and COPE all rely heavily on non-voting citizens to fund their campaigns.

These parties and their political staff are posturing for political advantage in the lead-up to the 2008 campaign and their jockeying really has little to do with the public interest.

If these municipal parties and their respective candidates were serious about campaign finance reform, they would exhibit integrity and demonstrate real leadership by announcing they will not accept donations from non-voting citizens, including Developers, Corporations and Gambling interests.

However, don't expect them any time soon to embrace this.

The 2008 Vancouver municipal election will essentially boil down to a campaign between NPA developers vs VISION developers.

The battle of the Developers cements the decreasing influence voting-citizens have at the municipal level.

But that is politics folks. It is no longer about the people and the public interest. Moreover,
the motion by Councillor Deal means nothing because as long as political parties exist at the municipal level, the potential corrupting of our political process remains intact.

In fact we witnessed this in the 2005 election when a convicted money-launderer donated nearly $200,000.00 to the party Ms Deal belongs to.

For real democracy to have a chance, the banning of political parties at the municipal level has to be seriously considered.

Jamie Lee Hamilton