UBCM bans sponsorship at its annual convention by foreign governments
The Union of B.C. Municipalities, which faced harsh criticism for accepting money from China, will no longer accept donations from foreign governments.
The Chinese consulate in Vancouver spent about $6,000 on its annual wine-and-dine reception with municipal leaders during September’s UBCM convention at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, who was among a group of protesters who rallied outside the event, called it a “cash-foraccess” scheme on the part of the Chinese consulate, which had been throwing the reception since 2012.
An independent panel, appointed by the UBCM in July to review the convention’s financing, delivered a report on Wednesday calling for a ban on foreign government sponsorship of convention events such as receptions and other networking opportunities.
West credited public pressure on elected officials for prompting the policy change.
Sponsorship accounts for about 20 per cent of the cost of the annual UBCM convention — $250,000-$345,000 each year — and covers everything from wireless internet, name badges and coffee, to banquets, business centres and awards.
In 2018, there were 25 corporate and industrial sponsors, seven government and Crown agencies, five unions and one consulate — China’s.
The review panel recommended that unions and corporations still be permitted to sponsor events.