Metro Vancouver mayors spent $5.8 million to push Yes vote

14 firms got transit referendum campaign funds from mayors' council

Host Bill Good

The Metro Vancouver mayors’ council spent $5.8 million provided by TransLink in an attempt to swing more area residents to the Yes side in the referendum on increasing the sales tax to pay for more transit.

The money financed a bombardment of media advertising, robo-calls, mailouts and street canvassing to try to reach voters.

The largest expenditure – $2.3 million – was spent on media advertising, but voter contact was a close second.

The disclosure released by the mayors’ council details payments to 14 firms providing public relations, communications, strategic or other support.

More than 840,000 voters were robo-called to participate in one of the 15 telephone town halls conducted by mayors. The Yes campaign says 151,000 actually participated.

The request from the mayors was approved by the TransLink board of directors.

No campaign leader Jordan Bateman said the mayors’ disclosure still under estimates the Yes campaign’s war chest because it doesn’t count at least $1 million worth of staff time or in-kind contributions by municipalities such as Surrey, Vancouver and New Westminster, or other money and effort expended by the Yes coalition.

The No campaign spent less than $40,000 with the largest contribution coming from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Bateman’s employer. “Whatever the result, we stood up for everyday people and made our case to the voters without wasting millions of their dollars like the mayors did,” Bateman said.

Voters were asked through the mail-in plebiscite if they approve a 0.5 per cent sales tax hike within Metro Vancouver to fund a $7.5-billion package of improvements, including new rapid transit lines in Vancouver and Surrey, and broad improvement in bus service.

Ballots that were received by May 29 by Elections BC are now being counted and a result is expected by the end of June.

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

Just Posted

White Rock RCMP are searching for Richard John Lewis, who is wanted on warrants for assault and uttering threats. (RCMP handout)
White Rock RCMP searching for wanted man

Richard John Lewis is wanted on warrants for assault, uttering threats

(Photo: Twitter@SurreyRCMP)
Surrey Mounties, pet owners, bracing for Halloween

Last year the Surrey RCMP received 147 fireworks complaints on Diwali and 121 on Halloween

(Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police investigating after another teen girl followed in Tsawwassen

Police say a man in a burgundy car approached teen girls on at least two, possibly three occasions

partial graphic used in "Get Serious" campaign by Surrey business groups.
‘Get Serious’ message about COVID pushed by Surrey business groups fearing ‘economic shutdown’

‘Different social media messages will be sent out daily with significant messaging…’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has issued a decision about the actions of an elementary school teacher in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley elementary teacher suspended for grabbing, shoving, yelling at kids

Roxann Rojas will lose her legal authority to teach for two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2020

Most Read