There has been a lot of discussion about where candidates are getting their funding, including rhetoric on “developer” donations. Contributions to my campaign are overseen by my Financial Agent, Celia Chiang, and follow Elections BC rules and guidelines.
Elections BC rules state that “Campaign contributions can only be made by eligible individuals and cannot be made by organizations or businesses. An eligible individual is: a resident of British Columbia, and a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.” To be clear – organizations or businesses such as developers cannot donate. People that work for developers are able to donate, however, it seems unlikely that every employee would support the same candidate as their employer.
I am not actively soliciting donations from people belonging to any special interest groups. The majority of my donors are friends and acquaintances. The implication that candidates can be bought by any group assumes a lack of integrity. As an engineer, I was required to write an ethics exam before I received my P.Eng designation, and I act with integrity in my daily life, both professionally and personally (please see my endorsements).
As I did not intend to release a donor list prior to the election and my donors were unaware that their names and amounts would be released, I have contacted them all to ask for their consent. I am waiting for their consent and as they approve their names and amounts donated will be listed below. They are aware that their names, addresses and amounts would be provided to Elections BC, who would post the list after the election. To date, the majority of my donations have been under $500 (average $225), from friends.
On another note, our election system benefits those with money and connections. I believe this is a barrier to the participation of more diverse voices. Just look at our candidates – we are mostly white, and while gender diversity exists in this election, there is a distinct lack of visible minorities among the Port Moody candidates.
Why is this important? Port Moody’s population is 30% visible minority and less than 4% Indigenous and Indigenous/non-Indigenous ancestry. With these demographics, we should have seen at least five candidates that are visible minorities or of Indigenous ancestry. I don’t have the answer to how to encourage more diverse voices and experiences to participate in city government but I suspect that until we demonstrate that city council can be a safe place for discussion and we remove the need for money and connections, we will be stuck with the status quo.
Note: There are other voices that need to be included in any discussion but these demographic statistics were not available for Port Moody.
Donor list (updated as consent given*)
Benedikt Zimmermann – $200
Colleen Louw – $50
Duncan Strong – $250
Keith Carpenter – $500
Lisa Beecroft – $500
Patrice Mousseau – $200
Paula Kolisnek – $200
Tim Grant – $300
William Clendinning – $200
*my financial agent is handing campaign donations.