COLUMN: Positive trends in municipal campaign spending

There were two positive trends in candidate spending on municipal election campaigns in both Surrey and White Rock in October’s election.

The winning candidates did not spend the most, and spending was down significantly from the 2014 campaign. Both trends are very good news.

The reduction in overall spending is a direct result of new campaign finance rules brought in by the current provincial government. Contributions were restricted to a maximum of $1,200 from individuals, after Oct. 31, 2017. No longer could businesses, which in this area of B.C. usually means developers or unions, contribute to election campaigns.

As a result, Surrey First, the dominant group in Surrey which elected all nine council members in 2014 and 2011, managed to raise just over $817,000 for its campaign.Financial disclosure documents reveal that some of that amount ($387,500) was raised before the finance rules changed.

What did Surrey First get for its money? It was defeated resoundingly, with every incumbent councillor turfed – including those who ran with Surrey First and those who split away to run with Integrity Now. Only newcomer Linda Annis was elected to council.

Safe Surrey Coalition, meanwhile, managed to raise roughly $250,000 – less than one-third of what Surrey First brought in.

Elections BC documents reveal Safe Surrey raised $167,180 of that prior to the new rules taking effect.

Safe Surrey Coalition elected Mayor Doug McCallum and seven of the eight councillors.

The same thing happened in White Rock. White Rock Coalition, which ran the campaigns of Grant Meyer for mayor, three other incumbent councillors for council and three newcomers, spent almost four times as much as Democracy Direct. Every one of their candidates lost. The Coalition spent just over $96,000; Democracy Direct spent just over $24,600.

Democracy Direct elected all five of its candidates – Mayor Darryl Walker and four councillors. The other two councillors elected, Helen Fathers and David Chesney, were independent incumbents and managed to place one-two in the polls. Fathers spent just under $3,500 and Chesney spent $4,428.

In both cities, there was definitely an anti-incumbent mood. Arrogance had reigned – particularly in the offices of the mayors. While neither former mayor sought re-election, candidates associated with them in the past definitely were punished by voters.

Much of the angst in both cities was over development-related issues, although in Surrey, the two biggest issues were what type of rapid transit line to build, and what form policing should take in the future.

It was a fascinating election, and it is likely future elections will follow the pattern set in 2018. Spending restrictions and four-year terms change the dynamics of municipal elections considerably.

In other news about past councillors, former Surrey mayor Bill Vogel passed away Feb. 1 at the age of 87. Vogel served as alderman (councillor) from 1972-77, as part of the dominant Surrey Voters Association slate. He was then elected mayor as the SVA candidate in November, 1977, beating controversial mayor Ed McKitka.

He served just one term. He did not like the spotlight and time demands put on mayors. He was a longtime Air Canada pilot and thoroughly enjoyed flying.

Afterwards, he served as board chair of Surrey Credit Union (later Surrey Metro Savings) at a critical time in its history, and did a superb job in strengthening it on many fronts. It is now part of Coast Capital Savings, still a credit union and still headquartered in Surrey.

In other news about past councillors, former Surrey mayor Bill Vogel passed away Feb. 1 at the age of 87. Vogel served as alderman (councillor) from 1972-77, as part of the dominant Surrey Voters Association slate. He was then elected mayor as the SVA candidate in November, 1977, beating controversial mayor Ed McKitka.

He served just one term. He did not like the spotlight and time demands put on mayors. He was a longtime Air Canada pilot and thoroughly enjoyed flying.

Afterwards, he served as board chair of Surrey Credit Union (later Surrey Metro Savings) at a critical time in its history, and did a superb job in strengthening it on many fronts. It is now part of Coast Capital Savings, still a credit union and still headquartered in Surrey.

Frank Bucholtz writes Wednesdays for Peace Arch News, as well as at frankbucholtz.blogspot.ca – email frank.bucholtz@gmail.com

Just Posted

Police investigating after 14-year-old boy pepper sprayed at Surrey mall

Surrey RCMP say two males fled the scene before officers arrived on scene at Guildford Town Centre

Former Surrey mayor Bill Vogel dead at age 87

Vogel was Surrey’s 31st mayor, in the big chair from 1978 to 1980, and was alderman from 1973 to 1977

Cloverdale nurse, Langley truck driver awarded for saving a police officer’s life

Angela Feltrin and Earl Hanes thanked by B.C. RCMP’s top cop

White Rock FOI requests posted to city’s website

Residents can track progress and results of freedom-of-information requests

Woman and dogs fall through ice along Surrey’s Serpentine River

While things seem to have turned out OK this time, woman’s husband urges others to stay off thin ice

Fashion Fridays: Up your beauty game

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Mayors approve SkyTrain extension to UBC

Next step is a business plan and public consultation

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Snow turns to slush, rain as it warms up across B.C.’s south coast

Some areas are already covered by more than half a metre of snow following three separate storms

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

St. Paul’s Hospital replacement slated to open in Vancouver in 2026

Announced many times, but this time there’s money, Adrian Dix says

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt

Sinkholes throughout the subdivision have prompted the District of Sechelt to issue evacuation orders

Most Read

l -->