Big Money in Edmonton Municipal Election

Don Iveson Karen Leibovici Kerry Diotte Edmonton Election 2013
Edmonton’s 2013 mayoral candidates Don Iveson, Karen Leibovici and Kerry Diotte.

$4.35, $19.75, and $5.45 are how much Don Iveson, Karen Leibovici and Kerry Diotte‘s campaigns spent for each vote received in Edmonton’s October 21, 2013  mayoral election.  With the most efficient dollar-to-vote ratio is Mr. Iveson, who won the election with a landslide 132,162 votes (62% of the total votes cast).

With a less efficient dollar-to-vote ratio was Ms. Leibovici, who earned 41,182 votes (19% of the total vote) while outspending Mr. Iveson by more than $237,500 and declaring a steep $142,415.27 campaign deficit.

Released last week, the financial disclosures for Edmonton’s 2013 Mayoral and City Council elections  detail how much each mayoral and councillor candidate raised and expensed during the campaign. Below is the breakdown for the top three mayoral candidates.

Edmonton Mayoral Election 2013, Financial Disclosure
Candidate Total Revenue Total Expenses Surplus/(Deficit)
Iveson $618,501.63 $576,059.79 $42,441.84
Leibovici $671,171.34 $813,586.61 ($142,415.27)
Diotte $179.912.11 $179,852.76 $59.35

Mayoral candidates Josh Semotiuk and Gordon Ward self-financed their campaigns and did not declare any donations. Candidate Kristine Acielo did not file a financial disclosure.

Here are the financial breakdowns submitted from elected city council candidates competing in Edmonton’s 12 wards.

Edmonton City Council Election 2013, Financial Disclosure
Candidate Total Revenue Total Expenses Surplus/(Deficit)
Andrew Knack $43,143.06 $43,143.06 $0
Bev Esslinger $34,044.28 $33,220.88 $823.40
Dave Loken $97,054.50 $96,906.55 $147.95
Ed Gibbons $93,461.44 $93,254.44 $207.00
Michael Oshry $82,587.85 $82,929.85 $295.00
Scott McKeen $105,862.81 $103,585.54 $2,277.27
Tony Caterina $87,950.00 $87,603.00 $347.00
Ben Henderson $59,335.06 $31,640.26 $27,714.80
Bryan Anderson $68,836.47 $43,783.69 $25,052.78
Michael Walters $107,198.85 $106,744.60 $454.25
Mike Nickel $65,199.00 $64,793.81 $405.19
Amarjeet Sohi $130,840.99 $85,105.30 $45,735.69

According to the Local Authorities Elections Act, donations to municipal election candidates are limited to a maximum of $5,000 for individuals, corporations and trade unions during an election year.

6 thoughts on “Big Money in Edmonton Municipal Election”

  1. These numbers represent real barriers to any citizen wishing to aspire to public office.
    I believe donations by corporations and unions should be prohibited in municipal and provincial elections in Canada.
    This would allow newcomers some fairness when entering politics; incumbents already have a formidable power base as well as name recognition that requires that newcomers repeatedly attempt assailing the barriers that often prove to be too difficult for less financially advantaged newcomers to surmount.
    Without the removal of the corporate and union contributions to elections, I don’t believe we will have ordinary citizens attempting to do the work of democracy from inside the political houses. We miss out on a great pool of talented individuals because of the constraints of poverty or an inability to raise massive amounts of cash in this way.

    Immigrants especially are disadvantaged in these elections.
    It is a real shame that we haven’t moved beyond the bankrolling of our hires with corporate and union money.

  2. “Immigrants especially are disadvantaged in these elections.
    It is a real shame that we haven’t moved beyond the bankrolling of our hires with corporate and union money.”

    You mean immigrants like Amarjeet Sohi? Read the numbers above and you can see that he had no problem raising money.

    Also, donations are capped at $5,000 not $30,000 like provincial elections. I would argue that this reduces the ability of corporations and unions to influence elections.

  3. “Also, donations are capped at $5,000 not $30,000 like provincial elections. I would argue that this reduces the ability of corporations and unions to influence elections.”

    Anyone wanna play a game of track the numbered companies?

  4. @Julie – Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, I believe that money will always be a barrier for some individuals to compete in electoral politics.

    – Dave

  5. What would also be interesting is to publish who the campaign managers were (and mention whose campaigns they worked on before…)
    For the life of me, I cannot figure out where and how Leibovici spent 800K… Except for a few billboards – I can’t say I saw her ads anywhere…

  6. An interesting development in Australia:
    http://www.elections.nsw.gov.au/media_releases/2012/19_march_ban_on_political_donations_by_corporations_and_other_entities_affects_council_elections

    …and I have heard that some European cities allow NO donations whatsoever by anyone at all – only a single sign for each candidate allowed in one central location in town, plus presumably one unified published newspaper review of all candidates. That’s it. If true, how egalitarian and democratic – NO money involved whatsoever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>