Sylvester calls for trans­parency

Big money main­tains grip on Van­cou­ver pol­i­tics, says in­de­pen­dent may­oral can­di­date MORE AT THES­TAR.COM/VAN­COU­VER

StarMetro Vancouver - - VANCOUVER - PERRIN GRAUER

In­de­pen­dent may­oral can­di­date Shauna Sylvester said Tues­day that the cur­rent fo­cus on dis­clos­ing donor lists is dis­tract­ing peo­ple from see­ing the way big money is still in­flu­enc­ing the 2018 cam­paign.

Sylvester’s com­ments fol­low an open let­ter re­leased Mon­day out­lin­ing her con­cerns about out­sized cor­po­rate and union con­tri­bu­tions con­tin­u­ing to drive civic elec­tions in the prov­ince.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant not to just talk about in­tegrity and call out peo­ple to dis­close their donors,” Sylvester said in an in­ter­view. “You have to re­ally demon­strate that (in­tegrity). And that means full trans­parency.”

Sylvester said par­ties in­clud­ing the NPA and in­de­pen­dent may­oral can­di­date Kennedy Ste­wart have found ways to bring more fi­nan­cial heft to their cam­paigns by skirt­ing reg­u­la­tions in­tended to ban big donors from B.C. elec­tions. Un­der those new rules, cor­po­rate and union do­na­tions are banned, and

caps on in­di­vid­ual do­na­tions are set at $1,200 per per­son, though only for cam­paign­ing. Ste­wart, who re­leased his fifth and lat­est con­tri­bu­tion dis­clo­sure on Oct. 2, chal­lenged Van­cou­ver’s com­pet­ing can­di­dates in late Septem­ber to re­lease their own donor lists be­fore the first day of ad­vance vot­ing be­gan Oct. 10. The prac­tice fol­lows a prece­dent from the 2014 elec­tion, when some may­oral can­di­dates and cam­paigns laid out

their cam­paign donor lists ahead of elec­tion day. Ste­wart’s lat­est donor state­ment shows a to­tal of 1,356 donors have so far con­trib­uted $151,794 to his elec­tion bid — an av­er­age of just un­der $112 per con­tri­bu­tion. The NPA, Ste­wart’s clos­est com­pe­ti­tion, ac­cord­ing to a Tues­day poll, met Ste­wart’s chal­lenge, re­leas­ing its own list of cu­mu­la­tive do­na­tions Tues­day. That list shows the NPA has raised more than $837,000

from 4,460 in­di­vid­u­als, at an av­er­age of roughly $188 per con­tri­bu­tion. The NPA did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment. But Ste­wart’s en­dorse­ment by the Van­cou­ver and District Labour Coun­cil (VDLC) has spurred crit­i­cism from Sylvester that the sup­port, with VDLC putting man hours to­ward flyer dis­tri­bu­tion and other ef­forts, amounts to an ex­ploita­tion of a loop­hole re­gard­ing the ban on union do­na­tions.

STARMETRO VAN­COU­VER

In­de­pen­dent Van­cou­ver may­oral can­di­date Shauna Sylvester says cam­paign donor lists dis­tract from the deeper ways big money is linked to civic elec­tions.

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