The story from the Squamish municipal election seems to be that spending big didn’t necessarily guarantee victory.
Elections B.C. recently released the self-reported spending from all candidates in the 2022 local elections.
As you may recall, in Squamish, there were three candidates for mayor: Deanna Kálkalilh Lewis, Mike Young and eventual winner, Armand Hurford. As for councillor candidates, there were 10 in total: Gord Addison, Adrien Byrne, Rajan Hans, Christina Walsh and eventual winners Eric Andersen, John French, Lauren Greenlaw, Andrew Hamilton, Chris Pettingill and Jenna Stoner.
The spending limits outlined by Elections B.C. for Squamish were $10,275.90 for councillors and $20,479.27 for mayor candidates.
The self-reported expenditures are somewhat muddy because of the way the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act requires expenses to be reported.
If an expense is used in both the campaign period and election period, then the full amount is required to be written in both periods, explained Andrew Watson, a spokesperson for Elections B.C.
For example, this means the cost for signs may in fact, be doubled if the candidate used their signs in the campaign period and election period — even if they only purchased these signs once.
Watson added that an expense could be pro-rated if it was only used for part of the election period. When asked the purpose behind reporting an expense twice, Watson wrote, “Reporting in both periods helps ensure that expense limits are not exceeded, and helps to increase transparency by showing when election-related expenses are used.”
He also clarified, “Expense limits apply in the campaign period only.”
Because of that, the following information about the candidates is the full total of expenditures for both periods according to the information each candidate self-disclosed.
Young, Byrne and Hans were part of a coalition called Squamish First, which spent the most of any candidates. About $18,500 was spent on Young, who ran for mayor, with about $9,700 spent on Hans and $9,500 spent on Byrne. An additional $4,368 was spent on election period expenses.
The rest of the candidates all ran as independents. The following amounts are the total of all reported expenses regardless of the period.
Mayoral candidate Hurford spent $7,200, whereas fellow mayoral candidate Lewis spent about $6,700.
For council candidates, the next highest expenditure came from Addison, who claimed to have spent about $9,300. From there, Pettingill claimed over $3,900 and Walsh claimed $3,400 in expenditures.
The last five in terms of spending all proved to be eventual winners, with Stoner having spent $2,400, Greenlaw claiming about $1,900, Andersen reporting $1,630, French listing about $1,500 and Hamilton having spent by far the least amount at just a little more than $360.
The 2022 election did not come near the total expenditures of the 2018 election, but there were far fewer candidates in the last election comparatively.
The 2018 election had five mayoral candidates and 23 councillor candidates, equating to a total of about $120,600 in spending. The 2022 election only reached about $80,805.