Municipal elections should face spending caps
Moncton councillor says lack of rules creates conflict-of-interest fears
A Moncton city councillor says Elections New Brunswick should force all municipal candidates to disclose the names of their donors and put a cap on campaign spending.
Federal and provincial election laws have strict rules on disclosing campaign contributors and how much can be spent during the race.
But the same rules do not apply to municipal campaigns.
Daniel Bourgeois, an incumbent city councillor who is running for re-election, said municipal races, particularly in the largest cities, should be subject to similar rules that govern provincial and federal campaigns.
"Where you have millions of dollars being spent on an annual basis, the potential for conflict of interest is more significant," Bourgeois said.
"So I think we could, say have a [law] for the eight cities. And here are the limits and here are the expenditure limits and the funding received and be safe rather than be sorry."
Bourgeois said New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia are the only provinces that do not have some sort of legislation governing campaign spending for municipal elections.
Bourgeois said spending limits also guarantee that every candidate runs their campaign on an even playing field.
Without having these regulations in place, the Moncton politician said people are "waiting for a disaster to occur."
"Then we'll start reacting and it'll be a bit too late. It shouldn't be that tough to ask me for a list of people who made donations. Other councillors, the media, whoever, citizens, would know that that councillor has received money from this union or that business so they could raise a red flag," he said.
New Brunswick voters will be heading to the polls on May 14 to elect local councils and representatives for regional health authorities and district education councils.