For Immediate Release: January 31, 2012
The Coalition of Progressive Electors is calling for Vancouver City Council to embrace specific targets that will make elections in Vancouver more transparent, more equitable, and less dominated by big money. While supporting the spirit of Councilor Reimer’s motion calling for reform, COPE says that the request to the BC Government should be more specific.
COPE is proposing that the Provincial Government amend the Vancouver Charter by imposing a $1.50 per registered voter spending limit for electoral organizations along with a per person contribution limit of $500.
COPE’s Ellen Woodsworth, who chaired the committee that proposed finance changes in 2010, says that specific changes are necessary. “We need to take the big money out of our system, and with a $1.50 per voter limit – a figure that is in line with elections Canada – we can start to move in that direction.”
However, Woodsworth noted that the Provincial government has ignored all three Vancouver parties when they called for changes. “This government ignored COPE in 2005, the NPA in 2007, and Vision in 2010. The issue isn’t Vancouver, the issue is the Province.” Woodsworth suggested that if the Province turns down the city again, it might be time to have major parties enter into a voluntary arrangement based on city by-laws.
COPE is also calling for public hearings into our electoral system to engage with Vancouver voters around individual donation limits, third party spending, bringing in wards, and making donations tax deductible. “The City needs the authority to make changes to how we elect our officials,” said Woodsworth. “Once we have that authority, it should be up to voters what changes, not just City Hall.”