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Municipalities in British Columbia want the provincial government to restrict the role of money in local politics in time for next year's elections.

The request came Thursday after a resolution was passed by members of the Union of B.C. Municipalities at its annual general meeting this week in Vancouver.

The resolution was nearly punted to next year for reconsideration, but members resurrected it and passed it unanimously, Oak Bay Coun. Kevin Murdoch said.

Murdoch, who drafted the resolution, said changes were made to the proposal after some members expressed concern that the same political fundraising rules being considered for the province would apply to municipalities.

Murdoch said it is important for the resolution to be dealt with quickly.

"This motion was all about timeliness," he said.

"It's always hard to get legislation onto the floor. If this moment passes where it's a key issue, there's a very good chance that it just might take a long time for it to come back again."

The B.C. government is considering legislation that would rein in political fundraising rules at the provincial level, including banning corporate and union donations and limiting individual contributions to $1,200.

Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson said in a statement the government is looking at options to change campaign fundraising in local politics.

"While the UBCM resolution did not speak to timing, I recognize the tight timelines for the 2018 general local elections and we are pursuing this issue as quickly as we can," the statement said.

The previous Liberal government resisted long-standing requests for change to local campaign finance rules.

Legislator Andrew Wilkinson, a member of the last Liberal cabinet, said the challenge lay in the complexity of drafting rules that would be appropriate for a broad range of municipalities, from large urban centres to small rural communities.

Murdoch acknowledged the difficulty of striking the right balance, but he dismissed the challenge as insurmountable.

"Everybody recognizes that there are differences, but there is absolutely nothing that stops this from being a sliding-scale model to accommodate that," he said.

British Columbia’s Premier and cabinet are meeting with Indigenous leaders at a First Nations Summit ahead of the new legislative session. John Horgan said Wednesday that reconciliation discussions must be followed by actions.

The Canadian Press

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