Halifax council agrees to study reforming campaign finances
There is no limit on campaign spending at the municipal level
Halifax Regional Council has approved a call by Mayor Mike Savage for city staff to report on reforming campaign finances.
Savage says the rules at the provincial and federal levels have been overhauled recently, but there are very few rules at the municipal level.
There is no limit on campaign spending at the municipal level.
"There's no limits on how much we can raise, and there's no limits on what we can spend, no limits to disclose what we spend our money on. I think it's time to put some rigour into the process of election financing," Savage said.
There was agreement from Preston - Chezzetcook - Eastern Shore councillor David Hendsbee, who said there needs to be openness with spending.
Middle-Upper Sackville - Beaver Bank - Lucasville councillor Brad Johns said he took no money in three of the four elections he ran in and supports the study. Johns suggested it should be taken a step further to look at contributions from the development industry.
Savage says the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities should be consulted because the province has to agree to any changes proposed.
He adds the province may allow Halifax to do this on its own, or it may want rules for all municipalities.
Either way, Savage says it's time to take a look at what's in place in other cities and create new guidelines here.
"To say at the end of the campaign that you can say who gave you the financing, who gave you the money is a good start, but it's only one very small piece of it," he said.
Savage said nothing bad will come out of some sunshine on campaign finances.
The CBC's Pam Berman was live blogging from today's Halifax Regional Council meeting.