EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this story first appeared in Feb. 2020 there have been a few updates:
In the Dec. 2020 byelection Stephen Andrew was elected to Victoria council – he is a resident of the City of Victoria. In early 2021, Grumpy Taxpayer$ surveyed all provinces to determine the qualifications to run in a local election – British Columbia is the ONLY jurisdiction in Canada that does not require you to live in that municipality. On May 2, 2021, Coun. Sharmarkie Dubow indicated in his Twitter feed that he had moved to North Park in Victoria.
All of Saanich council lives within jurisdiction
How on earth can someone live in one community, sit on the council of another municipality, run their affairs and decide how to spend a $300 million consolidated budget?
It’s a question that’s now being asked about the Victoria council – a by-election is set for Apr. 4 – where four of eight councillors now live outside the jurisdiction.
“It feeds into the cynicism and bewilderment many taxpayers have about local politics and raises lots of questions about governance,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.
“What’s to prevent someone from Ganges, Metchosin or even Vancouver sitting on Victoria council?”
As of January 2020, Couns. Marianne Alto and and Charlayne Thornton-Joe live in Saanich, , Coun. Jeremy Loveday reside in Esquimalt, according to the 2020 annual financial disclosure statements of councillors.
In municipal elections or by-elections, a residency requirement stipulates candidates must only be a resident of British Columbia for at least 6 months immediately before the day nomination papers are filed.
“If you don’t live in the City of Victoria community, how well do you know the residents and issues and priorities? If you haven’t contributed to the tax base, will you be less prudent with someone else’s tax dollars? If you live in another jurisdiction, why wouldn’t you run there? Do conflict of interest issues surface?” asks Bartlett.