Letters to the Editor

Reform election spending

Frank Bucholtz’s column of March 29 entitled “The cost of campaigning” was, as usual, very informative.

However, I would like to take issue with some conclusions reached. As Mr. Bucholtz states, “Surrey First only received $55,300 in donations from individuals, which isn’t much considering the overall donations.”

Until the provincial government brings in some meaningful electoral reform, individual donations will always be so.

The Campbell/Clark government had the opportunity for reform with their Local Government Elections Task Force, which fumbled the ball badly with any kind of reform. As long as federal and provincial donors are tax-receipted, civic donors will always be the poor election cousins.

A further statement: “...it’s also important to note that Surrey has grown tremendously in population and communicating with possible voters isn’t cheap or easy.”

It’s interesting to note that the spending limit on the nomination process for the entire province of B.C. for the last federal election was $692,229 which is only slightly larger than the Surrey First expenditure.

Even more illuminating is that the spending limit for the four federal ridings in Surrey, including North Delta, is only $305,679.

Lastly “...but the cost of mounting campaigns isn’t all that different any more.”

Surely without some type of election reform, the costs of civic elections – already costing more than the federal or provincial elections – will continue to escalate with the perception that he who spends the most wins the election.

I’ve always thought that to increase the meagre voter turnout a flat civic voter credit should be issued to all the citizens who take the time to vote.


Fred Girling, Surrey

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