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Green councillor proposes municipal campaign donation limits

Tim Louis isn't hopeful a motion to limit campaign donations to municipal parties and candidates in B.C. will fly with a Vision Vancouver-dominated city council.

"It is not going to pass," said the COPE spokesperson ruefully in a media briefing yesterday.

Green councillor Adriane Carr's motion to ask the province to amend Bill 20 and institute limits could be used to embarrass Vision Vancouver and the Non-Partisan Association, Louis said.

The parties received $2,227,402.34 and $2,555,707.80 in campaign contributions in 2011, respectively. During that year, campaign spending in Vancouver amounted to $5.3 million.

Carr is also prepared for her motion to be shot down, but if so, she has a Plan B: to create a set of campaign finance guidelines that civic parties and candidates could adopt voluntarily in time for this year's elections.

COPE and the Green Party of Vancouver also voiced concerns about the provincial government's abrupt decision to change local elections from a three-year to a four-year cycle.

In September 2013, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities announced its support of a four-year term office. Six months later, the B.C. government introduced legislation to change the term.*

Carr sees term limits as intrinsically tied to election financing limits. "[This change] means more time for parties that have spent extravagantly to stay in office," she said. "There isn't a level playing field for elections."

Carr's motion is scheduled to be discussed in council today.

Emi Sasagawa is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

*Story corrected April 16 at 3:40 p.m.

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