Show me the money: Squamish election funding disclosures show who supports whom

Least funded mayoral candidates most successful

Mayoral hopefuls with the most money backing them actually performed the most poorly during the Squamish municipal elections in October.

It was one of the patterns The Chief found while compiling the disclosures, which were recently released by Elections BC.

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There are several things to take note of when looking at the numbers.

As municipalities are governed by the province, the new NDP-Green legislation banning corporate and union donations for elections has come into play this time around.

Generally speaking, these changes seem to have reduced the amount of money flowing into candidates' war chests.

Only individuals can make contributions, with a cap of $1,200 per independent campaign. Only B.C. residents who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents can give money.

Also, names listed here are presented exactly as they are written in campaign disclosure forms.

An asterisk beside a name denotes exceptions to this. In these cases there is a discrepancy between what's written on the disclosure form and the name registered in the Elections BC website.

When there's a difference between the two, The Chief uses the name registered on the website.

In cases where a person contributed multiple times to a single campaign, The Chief has added up all those contributions and listed them in a single entry. For instance, if a Bob Smith donated $100 and $200 on two separate occasions, they would appear combined on The Chief’s chart as a single $300 entry.

Finally, Elections BC requires only that contributions over $100 be listed. As a result, the grand total for all contributions may be greater than the sum of all the donors listed in each chart presented.

Below are several findings The Chief uncovered when looking at election campaign disclosures.

Despite raking in the most cash from donors, mayoral candidate Paul Lalli had the worst performance at the voting booth, aside from Tess Linsley, who was still on the ballot but had pulled out of the race.

Lalli declared $25,948 in contributions but only took 19.49 per cent of the vote with 1,369 ballots cast in his favour.

Susan Chapelle raised $16,393.95 but took third place on election night. There were 1,625 voters who favoured her as mayor. That made up 23.13 per cent of the ballots cast.

Jeff Cooke raised $9,985 and took second with 1,674 votes in his favour — 23.83 per cent, which was a hairline margin up from Chapelle.

The winner, Karen Elliott, raised $7,840 — the lowest amount of any of the mayoral candidates — yet took the win with 2,273 votes in her favour. That's 32.36 per cent of the vote.

2 Karen
Source: Steven Chua/Elections BC

Elliott received financial support from established local politicians, conservationists and the owner of the Brackendale Art Gallery.

Thor Froslev, the owner of gallery, was her biggest supporter, contributing $1,100.

She also won the support of Coun. Doug Race and former mayor Patricia Heintzman. Race gave Elliott $500 and Heintzman chipped in $200.

Conservationists Edith Tobe and Francesca Knight donated $425 and $100, respectively.

3 Jeff
Source: Steven Chua/Elections BC

A donor bearing a very similar name to mayoral candidate Jeff Cooke was his biggest supporter.

A Jeffrey Terrance Cooke gave the most money to his war chest — $2,384.73 to be exact.

Other big donors also bore the same last name as the aspiring mayor.

Barbara, Mary and Raymond Cooke also kicked in $1,200 each.

Cooke also managed to get former councillor Ted Prior to open up his wallet. Prior, listed on Cooke's disclosure forms under his legal name, Edward, gave $500.

4 Susan
An asterisk beside a name denotes there is a discrepancy between what's written on the disclosure form and the name registered in the Elections BC website. When there's a difference between the two, The Chief uses the name registered on the website. - Steven Chua/Elections BC

Probably the biggest name to donate to Susan Chapelle's campaign is former mayor Greg Gardner, who kicked in $500.

Prominent developer Doug Day is also a notable person on the donor list. He gave Chapelle $1,200.

A Paul Bosa also kicked in $1,200.

It also appears former councillor Ted Prior had more than one dog in the fight. He supported Chapelle with $300, while also giving $500 to Jeff Cooke's campaign.

5 Paul 1/2
Source: Steven Chua/Elections BC
6 Paul 2/2
Source: Steven Chua/Elections BC

Lalli raised the most money and had the most financial supporters, including the prominent local Barr family and former mayor Greg Gardner.

While Gardner supported Chapelle as well, Lalli appears to have been his favoured choice. Gardner gave $1,200 to Lalli's campaign, more than doubling his $500 contribution to Chapelle's war chest.

Several members of the Barr family, a longtime Squamish forestry family, also contributed to Lalli.

A person listed as N Allan Barr contributed $1,200; Teresa Barr also chipped in $1,200, while Norman Barr pitched in $1,000.

Other big contributors include Avtar and Gurjeet Jagpal, who each gave $1,200. A Paul Bosa put in $1,200 and a Rose Fast chipped in $1,000.

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