The 2018 Union of B.C. Municipalities. (UBCM)

Chinese-sponsored reception at annual B.C. mayors’ convention under scrutiny

Port Coquitlam, Delta mayors opposed in light of recent events

The organization that represents B.C.’s municipalities is facing increasing scrutiny over its annual Chinese-sponsored reception, as relations between Canada and China deteriorate.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities hosts a Chinese diplomat at its convention each September.

This year, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said he will not be going to the reception, in protest of the two Canadians being held in China. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been detained in China for more than 200 days.

On social media, West said even if he overlooked China’s “hostile actions,” he still believes that taking money from a foreign government is wrong.

Delta Mayor George Harvie spoke out as well, saying he will attend the convention but not the consulate reception.

“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,” Harvie said in a statement.

“I will be discussing this matter with Metro Vancouver mayors at our next committee meeting and taking steps to avoid any perception of foreign influence in my work at the UBCM convention in September.”

Not all mayors agreed.

“China and Canada have a very strong and long relationship. Like all relationships, sometimes there are challenges,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps posted on social media.

“UBCM always has a reception hosted by the Chinese consul and unless Ottawa directs, I think it should continue this year.”

The Chinese government pays the UBCM $6,000 to host the reception, which provides food and drinks for the politicians and the media attending to cover the convention, as well as the Chinese guests. It has been an annual event since 2013.

Convention spokesperson Paul Taylor said the organization would discuss the issue at its meeting next month.

ALSO READ: China wants to ban Canadian meat

ALSO READ: At G20, Trudeau highlights plight of Canadians in China, but details scarse

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thornhill’s future takes centre stage at June 2 public hearing

The current community plan was adopted in 1981

Class will look different at Coast Mountain College this September

The college is embracing a distributed learning model

City council considers easing food truck restriction

Food trucks limited to four hours public parking, may increase to six hours

Vancouver Island bride held wedding in seniors home so dying stepdad could walk her down aisle

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Most Read