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Cabinet shuffle may spur changes to local elections

Changes to how local governments are elected in British Columbia may make it back on the provincial government's agenda now that Bill Bennett has been reappointed as the minister for community, sport and cultural development.

As minister of what was then community and rural development, Bennett co-chaired the Local Government Elections Task Force that in 2010 proposed 31 changes including setting expense limits, requiring third party advertisers to register and banning anonymous donations.

Fifteen of the changes would have required amendments to provincial laws, but they are yet to be made. The task force was a joint project with the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

"It must be on a shelf somewhere," Bennett said when asked today about the report and its recommendations. "I'm going to go find it, I'm going to get it out, I'm going to see what everybody thinks about it, and find out what UBCM wants to do about it, and do something about it."

The next provincial election is scheduled for May 14, 2013. It is unclear how much the legislature will sit between now and then, with both Premier Christy Clark and newly appointed house leader Mike de Jong saying today they need to discuss whether to have a fall sitting.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

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