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Thursday, July 31, 2008

money and elections in the oil-rich sultanate of alberta.

Campaign expenses from Alberta's March 3, 2008 Provincial Election were released a couple of weeks ago, here's a look at expenses by constituency from Alberta's two main political parties, and some lists of the expenses by the numbers (and the ridiculous amount of money that was spent in an election that produced a record low voter turnout):

Biggest Spenders
1) Sherwood Park - Iris Evans (PC) - $146,664.14
2) Edmonton-Mill Creek - Gene Zwozdesky (PC) - $140.283.18
3) Edmonton-Whitemud - Dave Hancock (PC) - $133,040.37
4) Calgary-McCall - Darshan Kang (Lib) - $117,137.44
5) Calgary-Glenmore - Ron Stevens (PC) - $110,979.96
6) Edmonton-Manning - Peter Sandhu (PC) - $90,853.23
7) Calgary-Elbow - Alison Redford (PC) - $87,846.02
8) Edmonton-Mill Woods - Carl Benito (PC) - $85,950.53
9) Calgary-McCall - Shiraz Shariff (PC) - $75,166.79
10) Lac La Biche-St. Paul - Ray Danyluk (PC) - $74,158.21

Biggest Liberal Spenders
1) Calgary-McCall - Darshan Kang - $117,137.44
2) Edmonton-Mill Creek - Aman Gill - $62,638.66
3) Calgary-Buffalo - Kent Hehr - $61,984.13
4) Edmonton-Ellerslie - Bharat Agnihotri - $57,496.63
5) Calgary-Elbow - Craig Cheffins - $56,109.10
6) Edmonton-Whitemud - Nancy Cavanaugh - $45,055.83
7) Sherwood Park - Louise Rogers - $44,461.28
8) Calgary-Bow - Greg Flanagan - $42,144.24
9) Calgary-Mountain View - David Swann - $40,522.36
10) Calgary-Currie - Dave Taylor - $36,891.07

Biggest bang for their buck (elected MLAs & cost per vote)
1) Battle River-Wainwright - Doug Griffiths (PC) - $2.65 per vote
2) Drumheller-Stettler - Jack Hayden (PC) - $2.43 per vote
3) Rocky Mountain House - Ty Lund (PC) - $3.07 per vote
4) Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills - Richard Marz (PC) - $3.16 per vote
5) Little Bow - Barry McFarland (PC) - $3.31 per vote
6) Strathmore-Brooks - Arno Doerksen (PC) - $3.48 per vote
7) Calgary-Hays - Art Johnston (PC) - $3.54 per vote
8) Lacombe-Ponoka - Ray Prins (PC) - $3.60 per vote
9) Edmonton-Riverview - Kevin Taft (Lib) - $3.88 per vote
10) Drayton Valley-Calmar - Diana McQueen (PC) - $3.99 per vote

Biggest Spender per vote
1) Calgary-McCall - Darshan Kang (Lib) - $27.48 per vote
2) Edmonton-Manning - Peter Sandhu (PC) - $22.11 per vote
3) Drayton Valley-Calmar - Norma Block (Lib) - $21.59 per vote
4) Lesser Slave Lake - Pearl Calahasen (PC) - $20.87 per vote
5) Edmonton-Mill Creek - Gene Zwozdesky (PC) - $20.44 per vote
6) Calgary-Buffalo - Sean Chu (PC) $19.58 per vote
7) Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview - Dawit Isaac (Lib) - $18.40 per vote
8) Edmonton-Mill Woods - Carl Benito (PC) - $18.09 per vote
9) Calgary-McCall - Shiraz Shariff (PC) - $18.05 per vote
10) Calgary-Glenmore - Ron Stevens (PC) - $17.23 per vote

PC v. Liberal - Biggest Spending Margin
1) Sherwood Park - Iris Evans (PC) +$102,203
2) Calgary-Glenmore - Ron Stevens (PC) +$88,029
3) Edmonton-Whitemud - Dave Hancock (PC) +$87,985
4) Edmonton-Mill Creek - Gene Zwozdesky (PC) +$77,645
5) Lac La Biche-St. Paul - Ray Danyluk (PC) +$66,245
6) Foothills-Rockyview - Ted Morton (PC) +$60,835
7) Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville - Ed Stelmach (PC) +$59,636
8) Edmonton-Mill Woods - Carl Benito (PC) +$59,381
9) Dunvegan-Central Peace - Hector Goudreau (PC) +$55,720
10) Airdrie-Chestermere - Rob Anderson (PC) +$55,276

30 comments:

Kat Hay said...

Well that explains everything, Iris had $146K and change. No wonder she won.

Anonymous said...

Why Ted Morton, Ray Danyluk, Ed Stelmach, and Rob Anderson believed they needed to spend that much more money than their competitors in clearly safe PC seats is mind blowing.

craig said...

You do raise a good point regarding the amount of money spent on this campaign. With such lavish spending, it obviously was not due to lack of funds that candidates did not connect with the large majority of citizens. Those who expended the largest amount of funds were more likely to be elected and attract their supporters but this still does not account for the near 60% of Albertans who stayed home on election day.

Was it that candidates expended their expenditures on the wrong resources? Or was it their messaging that turned Albertans away from the polls on election day?

I doubt that the money spent by candidates could have changed the dismal turnout outcome but adds layers to the question as to why Albertans are turning away from the electoral process in droves.

Aaron said...

In terms of the cost per vote, there seems to be a huge rural-urban divide. Why is that? Voter Fault Lines? I also found this article to be insightful.

Marnie Tunay said...

Thanks for the list. But with respect to the electe MLA's and cost/vote - didn't you mean to say: "biggest buck for their bang?"
Marnie Tunay
http://fakirscanda.googlepages.com/

Raymaker said...

Next question: How much of these funds came from clients of Hal Danchilla and Randy Dawson? Guess we'll never know without that lobbyist registry.

tjk said...

Spent 7k less than Vant and still beat him.

Excellent.

And Rachel spent 83 grand. Plus the strength of the whole party focused on 2 seats. Amusing!

Anonymous said...

What are the donation limits and spending limits?

Anonymous said...

According to Elections Alberta's website, Laurie Blakeman spent $48 347.13 in Edmonton Centre, not $26 570.09, as noted in your chart.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I realize that you liberals don't know how to run and win campaigns, preferring to leave it to luck or fate perhaps. But that's not how any successful campaigns are run.

Second, all of that money comes from donor's support, all carefully monitored by the election act. If you can raise that much money and invest it wisely as per your donors intentions, then you really do increase your chance of winning.

Lastly, those candidates do not decide how to spend their money. They put together a campaign team of volunteers who decide what direction the campaign will go in their constituency. Media, communications, consultations and material to give out at the door costs money. And when it comes to the PC campaign teams, they only spend money that they can raise - not candidate uses their own money and no one goes into any amount of debt to run the campaign.

But really when it comes down to it, you can't buy an election (you can run a professional one though). You still need to have the support of volunteers, donors and ultimately the voters to win. If you doubt that at all check out the Mark Norris campaign expenses. Money doesn't mean everything.

daveberta said...

"According to Elections Alberta's website, Laurie Blakeman spent $48 347.13 in Edmonton Centre, not $26 570.09, as noted in your chart."

The numbers I used are campaign period expenses. A number of candidates (like Laurie Blakeman) transferred funds to their constituency associations, which accounts for Blakeman's numbers being $26,570.09 rather than $48,347.13.

Anonymous said...

Tories Peter Sandhu, Moe Amery, and Jonathan Denis, Andrew Beniuk all ran deficit campaigns.

Raymaker said...

Anonymous at 12:38: "Lastly, those candidates do not decide how to spend their money. They put together a campaign team of volunteers who decide what direction the campaign will go in their constituency."

Jesus H. Christ, how stupid do you think people really are?

Chris LaBossiere said...

The same people that gave them the money to spend are the same that wanted them elected.

When will you Liberals figure it out? Get over your arrogant selves for a minute and accept the fact that the will of the people is what is being displayed here. Stop thinking that you're smarter than 80% of the rest of the population and worse, more righteous as well.

It takes well financed and well organized campaigns to win elections. That includes connecting with the wants of the electorate. Constantly complaining that the majority doesn't get it, is ridiculous.

I also believe that is the fatal flaw of Alberta Liberals. They forget that we are a free thinking group, and only hurt themselves when their whole strategy is bent on insulting the constituent.

You can find flaws with any government or political ideology, but the spirit of democracy is accepting the will of the people.

The Liberals are off-target with their message, leadership and platform. That includes maintaining an elitist image amongst a society of hard-working, fiercely independent electorate.

Every Liberal candidate in the province would have spent every cent they could have raised. Look at the Liberal Party itself, deeply in debt, overspending recklessly, other peoples money. What does that say about their ability to Govern or manage anything?

kyle said...

Chris LaBossiere: "The same people that gave them the money to spend are the same that wanted them elected."

Is our political awareness still so naive to believe that the majority of donations come in the form of large donations from private companies? The majority of political money does not come from individual voters but from private companies (who, by nature of not being human beings, but corporately registered bodies, can not vote at the ballot box).

Chris LaBossiere said...

Right. Forgot about your nemesis the dreaded company.

Is that why the Conservatives also have a massive volunteer machine. Did their evil employers tell them to get involved?

As I have said in the past, I wonder why I walk into these dark alleys...at least it provides for some entertainment.

kg said...

I'm sick of people like Chris LaBossiere implying that I'm lesser of an Albertan because I choose not to support his political party.

Chris LaBossiere said...

Yes, indeed, a word for word account of my comment.

I respect any Albertan that can articulate their position and at least try to be considerate of the facts when they throw around their opinions.

There are many Liberals whom I respect for both their opinions and more importantly the way they share them.

Look above you and tell me where the Liberal supporters have raised the question of why they can't raise money for their cause. Where is the honest introspection of their own party. No where.

I'll stand by what I said, you may want to read it again.

Anonymous said...

"Is our political awareness still so naive to believe that the majority of donations come in the form of large donations from private companies? The majority of political money does not come from individual voters but from private companies (who, by nature of not being human beings, but corporately registered bodies, can not vote at the ballot box)."

Actually, the majority of political donations do come from people, sometimes even old retired people who send in their 20.00 - just as important as someone giving their maximum allowed donation. These donations flow freely throughout the campaign period. Do the liberals not get these donations too?

Political donations are an awesome tax break. Why would people not use them?

Anonymous said...

KG said "I'm sick of people like Chris LaBossiere implying that I'm lesser of an Albertan because I choose not to support his political party."

I think Albertan's were sick of the Liberals telling them they were lesser/stupid for voting for the PC's. And they're still doing it.

I don't think I know one PC supporter that thinks someone who supports the Liberal party is stupid or lesser. That banter was all one way this election.

I think Labossier makes some great points, but while everyone is so busy making more excuses for why their favoured candidates lost (now its "we didn't have enough money") they are not learning anything from their mistakes.

Campaigning might not be rocket science for most, but hope is not a method either.

James L. said...

I think Albertan's were sick of the Liberals telling them they were lesser/stupid for voting for the PC's. And they're still doing it.

Nice strawman you built for yourself there.

Anonymous said...

The "biggest spending margin" is not always very telling. If you had a candidate parachuted in, just so the party could say they ran a full slate, it is very likely that candidate spent close to $0 on their campaign and so the "margin" is very high. A number of the rural ridings are like that for the Alberta Liberals and the Alberta NDP. I remember one riding - my home riding when I was a wee ladd - where the Liberal candidate was a UofA student. He was given a bus pass so he could campaign on weekends.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a difference in spending between the PC's and the contenders no wonder why we keep having the same gov't for decades at a time.

If this is legal let's just open the floodgates and give out alcohol and cigarettes for votes--really what is the difference ?

Jeff J. said...

"Wow what a difference in spending between the PC's and the contenders no wonder why we keep having the same gov't for decades at a time."

Perhaps you should re-check how much Liberal Darshan Kang spent per vote....

sucks when the facts get in the way of a good rant doesn't it anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Darshan Kang is very much an exception. Everyone seems to be digging out their straw men.

The real question is why anyone would donate money to the PC Party--with millions of dollars to spare, the party doesn't really need more money.

tjk said...

This last comment is hilarious.

"Millions of dollars to spare"

and the constant "straw man" approach to debate...just sad really.

Anonymous said...

To whose account do we accrue the $2 million + that the unions spent on negative ads?

Bet Mason wishes he would have had that money. Maybe the NDP would have held on to official party status. I'd argue they might have. With little money going in, they didn't air any ads of their own outside of Edmonton.

Anonymous said...

kat hay said:
"Well that explains everything, Iris had $146K and change. No wonder she won."


Yeah, if you ignore the fact she was a popular incumbent running against people without any name recognition.

Kind of like saying the Liberals would have won if they only had a different name...

Anonymous said...

I am shocked Craig Chandler only spent $13,000.00 but received an impressive amount of votes. What does Craig Chandler have to say?

Phillip Huggan said...

A free idea for well-paid AB politicians:
Alberta high school graduation rates are the lowest in the nation. Students leaving for the oil patch. Why doesn't Alberta pay students for graduating high-school to compete with the oil patch? Even copy P.Martin's 2006 platform of giving free 1st and last year university? Paying $5000to complete each of high school and two years university would cost $1-2 billion annually.

The logic being that high school dropouts might be underinvesting in their earnings potential over the long-term. More strongly, high school graduation and university degrees are far more likely to result in sustained employment than is the oil patch. The latter is likely a dead end industry unless CCS works really well. I view university education (or at least graduating high school) as a hedge against the oil economy.
Maybe some sort of non-petroleum related provincial small business grant program would be good too. Also, I would've kept Tanguay.