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

Vavenby resident working at refuge witnesses volcano eruption

By Robyn Rexin Twenty-seven-year-old Vavenby resident Vienna Moilliet is working as a… Continue reading

Back in time

55 YEARS AGO: A toboggan party was enjoyed by the Teen Town… Continue reading

Clearwater’s North Thompson Complex packed with Winterfest fun

By K.A. Pendergrast Friday, Jan.17 helped kick off the Clearwater Hockey Days/Winterfest… Continue reading

Literacy Week coming to Clearwater with lots of reading-related events

Clearwater will be celebrating Family Literacy Week (Jan. 26 to Feb. 2)… Continue reading

Don’t be surprised to see Vikings in Wells Gray

The Vikings are coming to Clearwater. On Feb. 1, the Wells Gray… Continue reading

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Coastal GasLink work camp in Vanderhoof gets approved by the ALC

The work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport was first rejected by the commission in October last year

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read