On Monday, Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore's non-partisan constituency office hosted a discussion about the "Art of Political Campaigning." But, in an interview with Public Eye, Ms. Elmore said the purpose of the event wasn't to teach constituents how to take on the governing Liberals.
The discussion was led by Kristen Keighley-Wight, who recently attended Campaigns & Elections magazine's annual campaign training conference in Washington, D.C.
In an invitation to the constituency office event, Ms. Elmore stated Ms. Keighley-Wight had agreed to "report back on some of the highlights" from that conference, describing her as "one of our constituency volunteers."
But Ms. Keighley-Wright also provides creative and production services for NOW Communications Group Inc. - a prominent marketing and advertising firm whose clients have included the New Democrats and members of the labour movement.
Ms. Elmore's invitation stated the discussion would centre on "how we can incorporate the strategies (taught at the Campaigns & Elections magazine conference) locally."
But when asked if those strategies would be directed at the government, the MLA told Public Eye, "Number one that's not the intent of the workshop. Number two I make an effort to be clear that certainly our office and my role as MLA is not a partisan thing."
Instead, Ms. Elmore stated the discussion was part of a non-partisan effort to encourage "community engagement. So I'm interested in having conversations with constituents and community groups and trying to promote that involvement and discussion of democracy and encouraging folks to get involved and have an understanding of the political process."
MLAs are prohibited from using the taxpayer dollars they receive to operate their constituency offices for political purposes. By convention, the same rule is supposed to apply to the offices themselves.