Kamloops mayor won't pay for by-election if needed

By Chad Klassen
September 7, 2016 - 5:32pm Updated: September 8, 2016 - 11:26am

KAMLOOPS — The BC Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says if a by-election is required to fill a Kamloops council vacancy created by Peter Milobar, it's Milobar who should foot the cost.

Milobar announced this week he plans to seek the BC Liberal nomination in Kamloops-North Thompson.

Jordan Bateman says if that eventually means Milobar will resign from council, he should follow the example set by former Penticton mayor Dan Ashton, who is now a BC Liberal MLA.

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Mayor Peter Milobar says he won't pay for a by-election out of his own pocket, as suggested by the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation, if he wins the MLA seat in Kamloops-North Thompson.

"To me, it's a slippery slope. Not everyone would have the ability across the province to pay for something like this," says Milobar. "You would certainly get a precedent, in terms of, if anyone wants to run in a by-election, they'd almost have to be able to be very well off to be able to do that, and I don't think that's what democracy is all about."

The B.C. branch of the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation says if Milobar steps down from the Mayor's chair, then it ought to be his responsibility to pay for a by-election, not the local taxpayers. 

"The mayor is already whining about how he doesn't want to pay for it. It's just the cost of democracy, he claims," says Jordan Bateman from the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation. 

"Kamloops is a larger town than Penticton. It would be more expensive to have that by-election. But look, any kind of contribution he wants to make to the taxpayers of Kamloops towards a by-election, I think would be welcomed by the taxpayers. People are trying to find value in City Hall."

The cost of a by-election in Kamloops could be up to $35,000, the same amount paid by former Penticton mayor and current B.C. Liberal MLA Dan Ashton in 2013 when he footed the entire bill.

However, Milobar insists he absolutely will not pay for one, saying it sets a dangerous precedent across the province.

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