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

Just Posted

Eight years in jail for high-level Chilliwack drug dealer

Clayton Eheler sentenced more than five years after he was found with nine kilograms of cocaine

‘Toxic’ stench report to be discussed by Abbotsford school trustees next month

Dec. 3 board meeting will have health report on lingering smell at King Traditional Elementary

‘Over 100 Years of Mission’ showcases local history

Photographic exhibition held at the Mission Community Archives

Westbound vehicles gridlocked on Highway 1 from crash in Langley

Estimated wait time to get past 248th Street is over an hour from Bradner Road

Snow appears in forecast for next week in Fraser Valley

Extreme weather shelter in Hope could be open by Monday

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

VIDEO: B.C. high school’s turf closed indefinitely as plastic blades pollute waterway

Greater Victoria resident stumbles on plastic contamination from Oak Bay High

B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

South Cariboo Driver hits four cows due to fog

The RCMP’s investigation is ongoing

B.C. won’t appeal decision protecting ICBC court experts

Change to evidence rules next to save money, David Eby says

1898 Yukon gold rush photo featuring Greta Thunberg look-alike sends internet into tailspin

Jokes erupted this week after a 120-year-old photo taken by Eric A. Hegg surfaced from archives

Driver escaped uninjured as car burst into flames on Nordel Way

It happened at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in North Delta, just west of Scott Road

BC Ferries’ two new hybrid vessels set sail for B.C. from Romania

Two Island Class ferries to be in use by 2020

Most Read