Councillors call for independent body to review campaign rules
(Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Saturday, February 2, 2013 1:48PM CST
Some councillors at city hall want more oversight when it comes to setting election rules.
Right now council sets their own rules for elections. But there are concerns this could lead to potential conflicts of interest.
"The reason why I think it’s a bad idea that council to set their own election rules is that it is conceivable that we could set up the rules to favour incumbents and obviously we don't want to be unfair. We want to do this in the most accountable way possible." says Mairin Loewen, councillor for Ward Seven.
City administration has been asked to report on the idea of setting up an independent body to help layout election rules. Loewen says the body would serve an advisory function.
"That kind of responsibility would be delegated to the independent commission for feedback and advice. Ultimately it would be council still needs to approve changes to the bylaw, we are the only ones able to do that, but we can get independent advice about best practices."
Some councillors would like an independent body to review the rules on how campaign expenses are reported.
Currently candidates only have to report total campaign contributions, campaign expenses, and surpluses or deficits. Ward Two councillor Pat Lorje says there should be more comprehensive reporting.
"My concern is a dual concern: both the election expense reporting requirements, which in my opinion are woefully inadequate, and also the code of conduct for candidates that are seeking public office. "
The city will submit its report on the idea of an independent body to council before the next election.