North Vancouver mayoral candidate George Pringle urges financial transparency

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      A long-shot municipal candidate is doing what big-name B.C. politicians with deep-pocket friends likely won’t.

      George Pringle, who wants to become mayor of the City of North Vancouver, is posting campaign donations on his website as soon as he receives them. Municipal election laws don’t require continuous disclosure of political contributions. B.C. candidates and civic parties have 120 days after the November 15 election to file a financial statement.

      “I believe that things should be very transparent and upfront,” Pringle told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.

      According to Pringle, the civic-scene watcher behind the blog North Van Council Watch, it shouldn’t be difficult. “If you get money in early October, there’s no reason why you can’t post it on the web,” he said.

      Although the 55-year-old disabled military veteran expects campaign financing to be a major issue in many municipalities, he noted that donations in his city are small compared to those across Burrard Inlet.

      “The real problem is in Vancouver,” Pringle said.

      Between the ruling Vision Vancouver and its main opponent, the Non-Partisan Association, the two developer-friendly parties received almost $5 million in campaign donations for the 2011 election.

      Neither Vision nor the NPA would grant the Straight an interview about the idea of continuous disclosure of contributions.

      Pringle made particular mention of developer Rob Macdonald when speaking about Vancouver. According to disclosure documents, Macdonald, who was chief fundraiser of the NPA at the time, donated $960,000 to the NPA campaign in 2011. He also gave $2,000 to Vision councillor Geoff Meggs.

      In North Vancouver, where there are no civic parties, Mayor Darrell Mussatto got more than $52,000, mostly from labour unions and developers, in the last campaign.

      Pringle ran against Mussatto in 2011, placing third in a field of four, and raised more than $1,200.

      In this campaign, he hopes to receive more, but he’s not taking any donations from unions. As of Tuesday (October 7), he had only $400. Half came from his own pocket, and the other $200 was from the Lower Lonsdale Business Association.

      “If you don’t like the fact that the business association gave me money, then don’t vote for me,” Pringle said.

      He added that continuous disclosure is an “honourable” thing for politicians to do. Although Pringle described his chances in this election as “one in a hundred”, he’s a leader on one score.

      “I hope to start a trend,” Pringle said. “I hope to lead by example and other people will follow my example. If enough people do it, then the province will take on the idea and, hopefully, they’ll make it a law for the entire province.”