Election spending cap proposed

Mayors and councillors may be given a limit to how much they can spend to campaign, depending on the population.

  • Sun Jul 5th, 2015 10:00am
  • News

By Tom Fletcher and and Kevin Mills

Mission Record

It’s unlikely that a proposed municipal election spending cap will impact Mission candidates.

The legislature committee on local election financing recommends candidates for a council seat in a small community should be able to spend no more than $10,000 to run for mayor and $5,000 for a council or school board seat.

For larger communities, a population-based formula would limit a mayoral campaign for a city of 150,000 residents to just under $90,000, with other municipal candidates limited to half that. The formula would limit a candidate for mayor of Victoria, population 80,000, to about $50,000, while Surrey’s population of 470,000 would mean a cap of $180,000 to run for mayor.

In Mission, which lists its population at 38,000, the mayoral candidates would be limited to $1 per capita for the first 15,000 people, and 55 cents per capita up to 150,000.

Using that formula, $27,650 would be the maximum amount that could be spent to win the Mission mayor’s seat ($15,000 allowed based on the first 15,000 residents and $12,650 for the remaining 23,000 residents).

During the last municipal election in November of 2014, Randy Hawes spent only $7,000 on his successful campaign, putting him well below the proposed maximum.

All of the Mission mayoral candidates – Ted Adlem ($4,000), Tony Luck ($5,064), Wendy Bales ($1,400) and Kevin Francis ($84) – were below the proposed maximum.

The spending limits still have to be endorsed by the legislature, but the B.C. Liberal and NDP members of the committee endorsed them unanimously. They are part of a series of local election reforms that included extending terms to four years.

The committee wants third-party advertisers limited to five per cent of what a mayoral candidate is allowed to spend.