Allegations of corruption on the part of our local politicians have plagued this blog for years, usually without any real documented evidence beyond "Developers gave money to their campaign" and "They voted to build a high-rise building that I didn't want."
If there is actual evidence of corruption -- a paper trail, bank records, plain brown envelopes, secret videotapes -- then yes, everyone needs to know about it.
To date, as far as I can tell, no-one has produced the smoking gun.
If you can back up your accusations, this might be one place to do it. If you would prefer, you can email me directly and I'll vet what you have before posting it.
Here are the ground rules before you start typing furiously.
- The lack of proper campaign finance laws in this province is not proof of corruption.
- I do not think that any of our local officials are lazy enough or shallow enough to be swayed by a couple thousand dollars in campaign donations. And if they are, then your solution is obvious: dig into your own pocket and make a similar sized donation.
- If I give money or time to a politician's campaign, it's because I assume they'll further some cause that I support. Usually people give money because of a politician's current or past positions, not because they think it will make them vote differently in the future.
- However, it's obvious that people who support a campaign in some fashion will have the politico's ear more than someone who doesn't. That's also not "corruption," it's human nature.
- Usually when a local politician votes for something that you don't like it's not because they're "corrupt," it's just that they don't agree with you.
- Donations to campaigns are not kick-backs and do not usually directly benefit the candidate. Yes there are ways to game the system, but on a municipal level we're talking small potatoes, and I doubt many people would bother.
- Similarly, developers' contributions to community amenities are not "bribery," even the absurd idea of British Properties paying for extra planning staff in West Van. Just because it's crazy doesn't make it "corruption."
Two final points before opening this up.
Before you write anything alleging "corruption" or "bribery" I'll expect you to define pretty specifically what those terms mean to you.
Second, the opinions of someone like Hazen Colbert, who not only posts under his own name, but has actually run for office, carry a lot more weight than most Anons.
Disclaimer: If developers, Anti-developers, mountain bikers, oil companies, unions, Marxist-Leninists, or the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation want to finance me I will certainly run for office.