Business group pushes for local government changes

Last week, British Columbia Chamber of Commerce president John Winter told The Vancouver Sun's Jonathan Fowlie that Christy Clark has "not waved any pro-business flags that I've seen yet." So what kind of signal would he like to see hoisted by the premier? Well, in an interview on Public Eye Radio, Mr. Winter said he's hoping Ms. Clark will act on her leadership campaign promise to create an Office of the Municipal Auditor General - which will provide local governments with "advice on financial decisions and provide a measure of accountability." In addition, the chamber president also encouraged the Clark administration to give business back the right to vote in local elections - an idea that was rejected by a 2010 provincial task force. But Mr. Winter acknowledged there would be some barriers to making all of that happen.

"The whole issue around local government and working with the province to affect change as it affects local government in B.C. in my experience has always been somewhat of a disappointment. We've always come up short in terms of our ability to influence the province to insert itself, I guess, in a meaningful way in this discussion," he explained.

Noting the Union of British Columbia Municipalities is "a very powerful organization" and that there's a significant number of Liberal MLAs with a background in local government, Mr. Winter said "I think in that respect, in our view at least, there's somewhat of a bias to affecting some meaningful change."

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