IntegrityBC releases questionnaire for Vancouver – Point Grey candidates

(Victoria, Friday, 29 April 2011) – IntegrityBC has released an open questionnaire that it has sent to each of the three candidates running in the Vancouver-Point Grey byelection on Wednesday, May 11th.

 

The organization will post the answers that it receives to its website www.integritybc.ca on Friday, May 6th.

 

The full questionnaire is below.

 

 

 

 

 

Questionnaire 

 

 

In the last two months, British Columbians have seen a change in leadership of both the BC Liberal and NDP parties. Both races contributed to a heightened political debate over the future of BC.

In order that voters have a better sense of where Vancouver Point-Grey candidates stand on issues of ethics and accountability, IntegrityBC is posing the following questions to you in advance of the May 11th byelection. We will post your responses to our website.

As you know, British Columbians are increasingly cynical about politics and civic processes. After the record low turnout in the 2009 provincial election, Elections BC undertook research on possible reasons behind voter apathy. Its report found that forty per cent of non-voters tended to say that they were not informed enough or were not engaged in politics or political issues; 53 per cent expressed disinterest in or dislike of politics and skepticism about government and politicians; and 37 per cent didn’t like the candidates, the parties or the platforms presented.

One way to re-engage voters, according to University of Victoria political scientist Dennis Pilon, “is to increase personal contact between representatives of the political system and the public.”

 

  1. If elected how would you conduct yourself differently from Vancouver-Point Grey’s former MLA as a way to address public cynicism towards politicians and how would local constituents see this differing approach take shape?
  2. Do you believe that a broader range of political voices should be heard in the legislature and, if so, what proposals would you put forward to reform BC’s democratic institutions and/or processes?
  3. While the Legislative Assembly has a number of standing committees in place that can (and do) hear from stakeholders and members of the public, what enhanced role, if any, would you propose to increase and/or broaden the role of the public in the drafting of legislation before the Assembly?

 

An Italian proverb states, “When gold speaks every tongue is silent.” In 2009, the BC Liberal party received $13.6 million in donations from corporations and $4.5 million from individuals; the NDP received $4.2 million from unions and $7.1 million from individuals (Elections BC). Neither corporations nor trade unions are eligible to vote in BC.

 

  1. If elected, will you support legislative amendments to prohibit corporate and union funding of BC political parties?
  2. Would you support capping individual contributions and, if so, what do you propose the individual limit should be?

 

Many people believe democracy is best served by an active legislature holding the government to account, to debate and to raise issues on a regular basis that are important to citizens. Since May 31, 2010, the Legislative Assembly has met for a total of 3 full days. On June 1st and June 3rd, it sat for both morning and afternoon sessions, on June 2nd it sat in the afternoon and on February 14th, 2011, it sat in the morning ending with the Lieutenant-Governor proroguing the legislature.

 

  1. Do you believe the length of sittings in the past year has been sufficient and, if not, how many days each year do you believe that the Legislature should sit?

 

Democracy is best served through an informed electorate. On May 15th, 2007, NDP MLA Leonard Krog tabled 70 questions concerning the BC Rail scandal followed by tabling 100 questions – the original 70 plus 30 – on February 14th. The government has not answered Mr. Krog’s questions.

 

  1. Do you believe that Mr. Krog (and by extension British Columbians) deserves an answer to each question and, in the individual case of Ms. Clark, will you commit to ensuring that answers are provided prior to the next provincial election or within 90 days, which ever comes first?
  2. Will you support a public inquiry into the sale of BC Rail?
  3. While the BC legislature has a standing committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills, should BC also have an independent Ethics Commissioner?
  4. What changes do you propose to improve public access to and reporting under BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act?

 

With an increase in mining, gas and oil exploration and drilling, and forest land acquisitions, there is a growing fear that some environmental laws may be subverted and that parts of agreements with the First Nations may be abrogated in the rush to see these projects advance.

 

  1. How will you ensure that all affected parties are heard before signing land transfers to industries dealing with resource extraction and that all associated environmental issues are addressed transparently?

 

IntegrityBC looks forward to receiving and posting your responses to these questions before May 4th. We will also post your campaign’s website address.