Langley council calls for changes after developer donations controversy

Langley council calls for changes after developer donations controversy

The province should review rules around donations, council voted

A controversy about developer donations during the 2018 election has led to Langley Township council asking the province for changes to local election rules.

On Monday, the council unanimously voted to request a review of Elections BC rules for campaign donations and spending.

The motion by Mayor Jack Froese asked for changes to the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act in time for the 2022 municipal elections.

Froese singled out three particular areas, including donations by people affiliated with corporations, unions, or other organizations with interests before local councils.

A recently released anonymous report drew connections between donations from multiple development company executives and several current and former Township councillors, including Froese, Councillors Bob Long and Blair Whitmarsh, and former councillor Angie Quaale.

The donations were made while development proposals or neighbourhood plans that would affect the developers were still under consideration by council.

The report was publicized by former mayor Rick Green.

READ MORE: Developer donations still coming in Langley Township despite rules change

All the sitting councillors have denied any influence on their decisions, and all the donations were publicly disclosed.

Coun. Eric Woodward attempted to overturn one of those decisions during Monday’s meeting, asking for reconsideration of the Williams Neighbourhood Plan.

Froese found that motion out of order, as the plan was put in place more than a year ago and would now be impossible to reverse.

The council ultimately voted to ask the province to review the rules, but not to ask for specific changes to the regulations.

Councillors brought up several issues, including that of council candidates making donations to one another, despite there being a personal spending cap for candidates.

“I know I did it, I exchanged cheques with Coun. Woodward,” said Coun. Kim Richter. “That was not illegal and it was disclosed.”

But she worried that it could lead to formal or informal slates in which candidates exchanged significant sums with one another to get around the personal donation limit.

Richter also suggested all Township business be suspended during the actual election period.

“We continue to vote on development matters, while we’re taking campaign donations from developers,” Richter noted.

Long argued that it was not up to councillors to suggest changes to the rules, only to follow them.

“I don’t think there is an issue, I think the rules have been followed,” he said.

Whitmarsh agreed that everyone had followed the rules, but noted that it was clear the rules didn’t cover every possible situation, and agreed there were changes that could be made.

Froese said he has already spoken to Selina Robinson, B.C.’s minister for municipal affairs, and confirmed that there is expected to be a review of the rules before the next election, the the provincial government will be looking for input from municipalities.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

LangleyLangley Townshipmunicipal politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vanguard Secondary School is set to receive $3.8 million in seismic upgrades. The upgrades are scheduled to be complete by March 2023. (Joanne Abshire/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley school to receive $3.8 million seismic upgrade

Project scheduled to be completed March 2023

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner: coach

James Kennedy Elementary (undated file)
COVID cases reported at three more Langley schools

James Kennedy Elementary, Simonds Elementary/U-Connect and Langley Secondary

Monica Newman has been part of the Langley Walk for more than 40 years, both as a participant and more recently as a volunteer, collecting badges for each year. (Langley Advance Times files)
59th annual Langley Walk goes virtual again

For the second year running, the historic community event has had to morph due to COVID

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read