Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow is concerned  Wal-Mart may be  attempting to influence the outcome of Vancouver’s  civic election.

"I am appalled by what appears to be an attempt by Wal-Mart to get a council elected that will reverse an earlier decision that rejected  their development," said Barlow. "This touches on the basic right of  Canadians to make our own decisions about what happens in our  communities."

Barlow was commenting on revelations that Allen Langdon and Wayne  Hartrick of Reputations Corp,  Wal-Mart’s public relations firm, are  also managing the campaigns of Vancouver NPA mayoral hopeful Sam  Sullivan and NPA Councilor Peter Ladner.

Last June, Vancouver’s COPE Council rejected Wal-Mart’s proposal for  a big-box in Vancouver after hundreds of local residents were  concerned that Wal-Mart would destroy local business, increase air  pollution and damage their neighborhoods.

Sullivan and Ladner  backed Wal-Mart’s failed bid. Sullivan now says  he will support Wal-Mart if it makes another attempt to get a big-box  in Vancouver.

Wal-Mart public affairs director Andrew Pelletier says his company is  planning on submitting another development proposal after the next  election. Pelletier also confirmed Wal-Mart looked at "coalition  building" with other businesses as a way of influencing council to  get the proposal passed.

"If Wal-Mart, the largest corporation in the US, gets away with this  in Vancouver, they will try in other Canadian cities," said COPE  Councillor Anne Roberts. "I am encouraged by Maude’s support in  making sure that a Canadian election process is not influenced by  Wal-Mart."

The Council of Canadians has chapters and members across Canada and works to  protect Canadian independence by promoting progressive policies on  fair trade, clean water, safe food, public health care, and other  issues of social and economic concern.

Barlow is in BC to speak about her new book Too Close for Comfort that examines the role of large corporations in influencing Canada’s public policy and its relationship with the U.S.

Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow concerned Wal-Mart interfering in Vancouver election.

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