Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The best democracy money can buy

March 15, 2009

Photo by Urban Mixer

Under B.C. law, it’s perfectly legit for candidates for municipal office to accept unlimited sums of money from unions, corporations and non-citizens.  The only requirement is disclosure.  So as long as it’s reported, there’s no stopping anyone — from Osama bin Laden to Kevin Bacon — from making a donation.

In Vancouver, the parties spent over $5-million to compete for the right to govern.  Non-voting entities happily greased the campaigns.  By “greased” I mean nothing untoward.  The law was followed.  The problem is the law.  It makes sell-outs of every party.  Even parties that don’t want to be sell-outs.

Pretty much every business regulated by the city gave money — bars, restaurants, developers.  Some of the big boys, like Concord Pacific, swung both ways.  They gave $35,000 to Vision Vancouver and around $12,000 to the NPA.  Bob Rennie gifted $35,000 in advertising to the NPA.  Meanwhile, Rennie Marketing Systems handed $1,000 to Vision.

Financial disclosures are posted online by the City of Vancouver.  The documents are posted as submitted.  They’re very poorly formatted and there’s no consistency.  Vision’s doc is alphabetical.  The NPA disclosure is chronological but it breaks out into special sections for payment method.  Incredibly, Rob (“Fear the NDP Bolsheviks”) Macdonald made one of his donations via Paypal.  I like this guy even more.

Hat tip to Frances Bula for the link to the disclosure docs.  If you’re a geek for city politics, you need to be reading her excellent blog.

Photo credit: Urban Mixer

Developer crashes the Vision bash

November 17, 2008

Photo by Mike Tippett

Being a guy who loves a good party, I spent my Saturday night at the Vision Vancouver victory bash. It was a mad scene. Progressives aren’t used to winning so when they party, they party big. Long after Gregor gave his first speech as mayor-elect — where he promised everything from the end of homelessness to a formula for cold fusion — the party kept roaring. Even condo mogul Francesco Aquilini dropped in for an appearance. I offered my date ten bucks to ask the man about the “market benefits” of a condo speculator’s tax. She laughed and we went back to dancing. I kept the ten bucks and went home by myself.