Anyone who spends time around municipal council chambers in this province recognizes that there's already a serious democracy deficit with our local governments.
With no campaign-spending limits, the real-estate interests, casino companies, and unions have a disproportionate say by dumping massive sums of money to get their preferred candidates elected.
The conflict-of-interest rules are a joke.
That alone guarantees that any politician taken to court over the matter can plead ignorance, noting that it's impossible to know what constitutes a conflict when it's not even outlined in the legislation.
Meanwhile, councils routinely go in-camera over anything that can loosely be defined as dealing with land, labour relations, or legal issues.
It's required under provincial legislation that appears to be more crafted to please the directors of the Union of B.C. Municipalities rather than providing any semblance of open government.
Forget about any oversight from the provincial conflict-of-interest commissioner.
There aren't even any panels that citizens can appeal to when municipal politicians decide to ignore the public out of an eagerness to please their donors.
No, if a citizen feels there's a legal problem, he or she must hire a lawyer and take the local government to court.
In a final insult, the B.C. legislature has retained the at-large system for electing municipal councillors in the province's largest cities.
This means that anyone seeking office must join a well-oiled political machine and collect bucketfuls of money before even having a hope of getting elected.
Now, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes wants to loosen accountability even further.
She's introduced a bill in the legislature to extend municipal politicians' terms from three to four years.
Oakes will no doubt sing the praises of granting local politicians an extra year in office as some wonderful innovation that will lead to better government.
Don't believe it for a second.
It's another step along the road to less accountability and greater power for the oligarchs who already have too much influence through their ability to finance the election of whoever will do their bidding.
Sometimes, I wish that the people elected to our legislature would read the research of Transparency International and make the connections between how diminished accountability leads to greater corruption and long-term economic stagnation.
If they did, they would be holding a filibuster against the latest effort to strengthen the power of local politicians at the expense of the citizenry.
But it's not likely to happen because these provincial politicians won't want to upset their municipal brethren or their pals at the Union of B.C. Municipalities.