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NSV releases election campaign financing figures, challenges other parties to do the same
(Vancouver, Nov. 17, 2011) Randy Helten, mayoral candidate for Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV) today announced the figures for election campaign donations received by the elector organization from the start of the campaign to date. The total including cash and loans amounts to just under $38,000.
[ Find pdf with details at http://nsvancouver.ca/media-releases/ ]
NSV is showing by example how Vancouver's civic parties should uphold the highest standards, accepting donations only from individuals, and screening all donations over $100 to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest.
"The influence of political donations on Vancouver's civic political system is one of this city's most serious problems," said Helten. "If Vancouver can reduce the excessive influence of money from developers, unions, and special interest groups on our elected officials, we could do a better job of handling all the issues, including housing affordability and homelessness. The best thing voters could do on November 19 is to vote for those parties and candidates who are not tainted by large political donations from special interests." The funds disclosed by NSV are in stark contrast to the publicly announced targets of Vision Vancouver and the Non-Partisan Association (NPA). The graph compares likely totals for this year (estimated from various media sources).
Both the NPA and Vision Vancouver have estimated that they will each raise about $2.5 million campaign funding largely from the development industry. Since the role of Council is to regulate land-use by approving what can be built, regulators should not be funded by those that they regulate. NSV is leading by example to remove this conflict of interest.
This disclosure of funds by NSV is a response to a challenge issued to all elector organizations from the general assembly of Occupy Vancouver dated November 14, calling for "the establishment of real transparency in municipal campaign finance by requiring candidates and parties to reveal their donors and amounts before, not long after an election is over — is current practice … Occupy Vancouver challenges all municipal candidates to disclose the source of all contributions greater than $100, and make this information publicly available online by 11:59 pm Thursday, November 17, or be held to account by voters on Election Day."
NSV is an elector organization based on a network of individuals in neighbourhoods all over Vancouver. For five years, the network has provided extensive policy analysis and input to City Hall regarding critical Council decisions. It is running five candidates for City Council in the November 19 election, including Randy Helten as mayoral candidate, and Nicole Benson, Marie Kerchum, Terry Martin, and Elizabeth Murphy as councillor candidates.