Four days ahead of a Vancouver by-election for a vacant council seat, one candidate has challenged her competitors to let voters know who’s funding their campaigns.
“The Jean Swanson campaign for city council is proud to make public the details of its campaign contributions to date,” reads an October 10 media release.
“Jean Swanson believes that voters have a right to know where candidates’ money is coming from before voting.”
It goes on to quote Swanson, who’s running as an independent.
“One way to predict how councillors will vote is to look at who funds them,” she said. “My campaign has been funded by over 700 people with an average donation of $47 and not a nickel is from corporations or real estate developers.”
According to the release, Swanson raised $36,776.59 as of October 9. It states that $1,200 of that money came from unions, $420 from nonprofits and grassroots organizations, and that the remainder was donated by individuals.
“Swanson’s $36,776.59 is about the same amount of money that Vision Vancouver received from a single donation last election: $37,500 from billionaire Chip Wilson, who owns the most expensive mansion in Vancouver,” the release notes.
Swanson is competing for a council seat that was left vacant in July when Vision’s Geoff Meggs resigned to take a job in the new NDP premier’s office.
She's a long-time housing advocate, champion of the poor, and a 2016 recipient of the Order of Canada.
In B.C., politicians are legally obligated to make details of their campaign finances available to the public, but not until after election day.
Swanson releasing information about who’s funding her campaign before the by-election scheduled for October 14 isn’t the first time that a B.C. politician has opted for greater transparency.
Ahead of Vancouver’s last civic election, in November 2014, the Green party made its list of donors available to the public. That prompted the larger Vision Vancouver and Non-Partisan Association parties to quickly follow suit.