STAHN: Who’s backing our candidates? - InfoNews

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STAHN: Who’s backing our candidates?

October 03, 2014 - 7:54 AM

In this day and age, doesn't it seem wrong that we won't know who gave money to political candidates until the election is over?

A couple of council candidates have already turned to online fundraising, and these platforms require at least some transparency, but the rest of the candidates are set to keep their backers secret for as long as three months after the Nov. 15 election.

We want council members who can be held accountable and isn’t the first step letting us know where they get their money in order to even run for council? They need to put down assets, liabilities and income as well as real property and corporate assets on their nomination papers, yet disclosure of financial backers is not required until well after the election day.

Is that really fair to us as voters? Knowing who is backing them could tell us more about what they stand for than their platform, or what they say during the campaign.

Recent changes to acts and policies surrounding elections strive for more transparency, accountability and compliance. Contributors over $50 can't be anonymous and a separate campaign account must be opened to keep all donations and expenses separate.

Whether candidates are actually elected or not they must file disclosure statements outlining all contributions and expenses within 90 days of the general voting day, and there are ‘severe’ penalties for those who do not file.

So my challenge to all candidates is to make their backers public before the election.

Yes, it may affect how many votes you get, but it may also make you think twice before taking just any money that comes your way and that speaks a whole lot louder than any word that can possibly come out of your mouth.

To contact a reporter, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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