The province announced Wednesday it will be modernizing rules surrounding local government elections.
While the detailed changes won't be released until the fall, the highlights include sponsorship information to be required on all election ads, banning anonymous contributions, disclosure by third-party advertisers and candidates having 90 days instead of 120 to file their financial disclosure statements.
The changes come from recommendations of the joint provincial and Union of B.C. Municipalities Local Government Elections Task Force, and the province said in a statement that they will be the most significant changes to local election legislation in two decades.
"There were very lengthy, very divided discussions, not nasty discussions by any means, but really based on consensus and what we really felt," said Surrey Coun. Barbara Steele, who was on the task force for over a year.
Steele said because B.C.'s municipalities drastically vary in size, coming up with rules that would make sense in all types of communities was hard.
She said there were discussions about axing union and corporate donations, as well as out-of-province and out-of-country donations.
In terms of accountability, Steele said she expects not much will change on their end.
"But in terms of the voters knowing the accountability, that will change because these changes will be advertised," she said.
Steele said the changes might affect campaigns.
"The one thing it will affect is the planning of campaigns and the way our campaign manager does things. It won't really change what Surrey First does in our case," she said.
Steele said she's excited to see what changes the province comes out with in the fall.
Local government election rules apply to municipalities, regional districts, parks board, the Islands Trust and boards of education.
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