It is finally coming! Campaign finance reform will have a dramatic and, I believe, very positive impact on the 2018 municipal election.
Our provincial NDP government has just announced that legislation is on its way which will ban union and corporate donations in municipal election campaigns — this just one month after they banned the same at the provincial level. This latest reform in campaign financing will take effect retroactively to October 31 of this year.
In Vancouver, the two pro-development parties, Vision Vancouver and the NPA, will be particularly hard hit by this new legislation because every municipal election they raise millions of dollars from developers. This has a very corrosive effect on decision-making. It has resulted in very pro-development city councils where developers get pretty much whatever they ask for.
The new legislation will also put a cap of $1,200 on the amount an individual can donate.
Smaller parties such as COPE have long been massively outspent by the two pro-developer parties. This is because COPE does not accept donations from developers.
When COPE was founded in 1968, it was to offer the citizens of Vancouver an alternative to the then only developer-funded party, the NPA. Regrettably, we now have not one but two parties on city council in bed with developers.
I am intrigued by the impact this new legislation will have not just on the election campaign itself but, more importantly, on the behaviour of city councillors between elections. Will Vision Vancouver councillors continue to vote consistently in support of big developers or will they now become more receptive to the needs and wishes of the citizens of Vancouver in the same way that Adriane Carr and the Vancouver Green Party have demonstrated over the past six years?
The NDP put a smile on my face yesterday, making for a very Happy Halloween.