DHARAMSALA, 29 June: The mayor of Delta has declared that he will not be attending a reception sponsored by the Chinese government at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention later this year.
“The issue of UBCM having a sponsorship agreement with the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China is concerning and I am opposed to foreign influence in our local affairs,” the mayor has said in a written statement.
Delta Mayor George Harvie has decided to give amiss to the reception after it was revealed that it is paid for by the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China.
The Chinese government pays $6,000 to sponsor the event, media reports said.
The Delta Mayor has further said that he will discuss the matter with Metro Vancouver mayors at their next committee meeting to take steps to avoid any perception of foreign influence in my work at the UBCM convention to be held from September 23 to 27, 2019 in Vancouver Convention Centre in British Columbia, Canada.
Like Mayor Harvie, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West is also concerned over the matter. The latter was the first to raise the issue of the reception and called on the UBCM to cancel the reception.
“I think it’s completely unethical and wrong for the UBCM to accept cash from the government of China to provide access to mayors and city councillors. It’s cash for access,” Mayor Brad West has said in a letter released last week.
Despite the objection, the reception, however, will go ahead as planned. “The 21-member UBCM executive has decided to go ahead with the event,” Arjun Singh, a Kamloops city councillor and UBCM president said.
This annual event continues to be the largest and most important annual meeting of local government leaders in British Columbia that provides an opportunity for local governments to come together, share best practice and lobby the provincial government — both in direct meetings with ministers and in resolutions passed on the convention floor.
Over 2,000 local government decision-makers, influencers and British Columbia government dignitaries will reportedly attend this year’s event.
The relationship between Canada and China nosedived since late last year after the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, Meng Wanzhou was arrested by the Canadian authorities in Vancouver on the behest of the US government.