ChoiceStorm

Should the Municipal Election Campaign Finance and Disclosure rules be changed?

Calgary Municipal Election

This article is based on the discussion paper "The Case for Municipal Election Campaign Finance and Disclosure Reform In Alberta" by Naheed Nenshi1.

The changing of these regulations is partially decided by the Alberta government rather than the Calgary Council.  However, Calgarians have the right to ask candidates about their position on campaign finances.

Many candidates have already chosen to disclose their donor list prior to the election.  For a full list, see Jason Markusoff's Calgary Herald Blog5.

 

Municipal Finance Rules Should Be Changed

Municipal Finance Rules Should Remain Unchanged

When Donations Are Allowed

Donations to candidates can be made at any time.  It would be better to only allow donations within one year of the municipal election1.

One year is adequate time for fund raising, and would not limit benefits to those who announce their candidacy only in the year of the election.

When Donations Are Allowed

Donations to candidates can be made at any time. 

All candidates have access to this benefit, so it does not create unfair conditions.  Candidates are encouraged to plan early to run for election.

Donation Limits

The current limit is $5,000 per year, which allows a wealthy individual or corporate contributor to donate $20,000 over four years during the election cycle1.  At the Federal level, individuals are limited to donating $1,100 per candidate and union and corporate contributions are banned2.

There is no reason why municipal candidates should have significantly higher donations than federal candidates.  The current system allows a relatively small group of contributers to have a large financial impact on a campaign.  Candidates who want to raise money do not have to appeal to a wide range of Calgarians, only to specific wealthy groups.

Donation Limits

The current limit is $5,000 per year, which allows a wealthy individual or corporate contributor to donate $20,000 over four years during the election cycle1.

Spending Limits

Currently there are no spending limits on municipal campaigns.  Creating a spending limit of 65 cents per resident would be more fair1.  (The spending limit at the federal level is 70 cents per elector.2)

The average cost of a winning Aldermanic campaign more than doubled from $45,248 in 2007 to $92,073 in 20101.

Spending Limits

Currently there are no spending limits on municipal campaigns.

This item is redundant with other recommendations and pre-existing regulations.  Limiting a candidates ability to fundraise should be the only method of limiting their spending.

Campaign Surpluses

Candidates are able to save surpluses from donations for future races1.  This creates an uneven playing field for new candidates.

Edmonton has required that councillors donate surpluses to charity or have the city hold them in trust between elections2.  Calgary should impliment a similar system.

This would be better for voters because it gives newer candidates a more even playing field, and it is good for donators because it ensures that they are funding only the candidate that they believe in during that particular election.

Campaign Surpluses

Candidates are able to save surpluses from donations for future races1

This is good because it allows experienced candidates to benefit from that experience.

A regulation that mandates donating surpluses after the election will discourage donations, because it will be unclear where the donations will go.

Disclosure of Financial Contributions

Financial Contributions are not disclosed until after the election1.  This means that Albertans do not have access to all the information until after it is too late.

Voters have the right to know who else is supporting the candidates that they vote for.  Providing this information only after the election is insufficient for ensuring informed and accurate representation.

Disclosure of Financial Contributions

Financial Contributions are not disclosed until after the election1.

Voters have enough information available to make informed decisions.  Platforms, public debates, and various sources of information through social media mean that most winning candidates are in the public eye enough for voters to make an informed decision without financial contribution disclosure.

Alternatives

Any subset of the recommendations may be accepted, or any of the values can be changed.

This article focuses on whether additional restrictions should be placed on campaign financing.  If there is a clear response that no additional restrictions would be supported by voters, then it would be worth evaluationg whether the existing restrictions should be loosened or elimiated.

When Donation Are Allowed

When should donations be allowed to candidates for Calgary city council?

1
3

Votes

Only within one year before the election
2
1

Vote

Only within 3 months before the election
3
1

Vote

Undecided
4
1

Vote

At Any Time
New:
You have no permission to vote! Log in or create an account.

jVoteSystem developed and designed by www.joomess.de.

Donation Limits

What would be the best limit for campaign donations for Calgary city council candidates?

1
2

Votes

Decrease the limit to 2500 dollars
2
2

Votes

We should maintain the current 5000 dollar limit.
3
1

Vote

Undecided
4
1

Vote

No limit is required.
5
0

Votes

The current 5000 dollar limit should be increased
6
0

Votes

Decrease the limit to less than 2500 dollars
New:
You have no permission to vote! Log in or create an account.

jVoteSystem developed and designed by www.joomess.de.

Spending Limits

Could there be a spending limit on the campaigns for Calgary council candidates?

A spending limit should be more than a dollar per resident
The spending limit should be 80-100 cents per resident
The spending limit should be 60-80 cents per resident
No spending limit is required
Undecided
New:
You have no permission to vote! Log in or create an account.

jVoteSystem developed and designed by www.joomess.de.

Campaign Surpluses

Should candidates be allowed to keep their campaign surpluses?

1
4

Votes

Candidates should donate their surpluses after the race is complete
2
1

Vote

Undecided
3
1

Vote

Candidates should be able to save their donations for future races
New:
You have no permission to vote! Log in or create an account.

jVoteSystem developed and designed by www.joomess.de.

Disclosure of Financial Contributions

Should disclosure of financial contributions occur before election day?

1
4

Votes

Yes, candidates should be obligated to disclose financial contributions before the election.
2
1

Vote

Undecided
3
1

Vote

Yes, but it should be the candidate's choice. No change to current regulations are required.
4
0

Votes

No, candidates should wait until after the election to disclose their financial contributions.
New:
You have no permission to vote! Log in or create an account.

jVoteSystem developed and designed by www.joomess.de.

 

References

  1.  Naheed Nenshi: The Case for Municipal Election Campaign Finance and Disclosure Reform In Alberta 
  2. Alberta Views (Article by Naheed Nenshi): Bad Optics
  3. Metro News: 2010 Campaign Spending Report
  4. Cam Stark's Visualization of the Metro News Calgary's 2010 Municipal Campaign Spending Data 
  5. Calgary Herald Blogs: Will candidates disclose donors before election?  We're asking.
  • No comments found
Add comment

This page is compiled and maintained by the ChoiceStorm community.  

Login or create an account to edit this page or make corrections.

See How you can help to learn more

© Copyright 2013 ChoiceStorm