Big companies paying big bucks to sponsor events with BC civic leaders


WHISTLER (NEWS1130) – As mayors from across BC meet in Whistler this week for the annual Union of BC Municipalities convention, you may be surprised to learn who is paying a pretty penny to spend some time with our politicians.

Lindsay Meredith, a marketing professor with SFU, says there are pros and cons to having our civic leaders wined and dined by companies.

He tells us politicians need to raise money and corporate sponsorship is an easy way to do that.

But once leaders are seen to be mingling with companies like Hydration Stations, Telus, Spectra Energy, LNG Canada, FortisBC, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Port Metro Vancouver, and Air Canada, it can leave voters questioning their relationship.

“There might be a supposition then that those guys are getting the inside line with you now. They kind of have you in their pocket right? So it is the same old problem. We always want to know which companies are bankrolling which politicians’ election campaigns… [There’s an] implication there that maybe this guy’s decision-making has been compromised by the money he accepted,” says Meredith.

He notes this could lead to skepticism when it comes to controversial subjects in BC, such as pipelines.

“Some of the oil company guys who might be sponsoring some of the municipalities with regard to pipelines — we have seen the kickback with Kinder Morgan trying to run through Burnaby; things of that sort — and Enbridge and some of the municipalities up north.”

Meredith points out if politicians did not raise funds from corporate sponsorships, they would look to us by increasing our property taxes. He says it then becomes a question of who we would rather see foot the bill.

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