In his second attempt as the NDP candidate in West Yellowhead, Barry Madsen is taking a different, and unconventional, approach to fundraising. In a speech made at his recent nomination meeting, Mr. Madsen pledged to only accept $1 donations to his election campaign.
Talking about creating “an alternative that sets us apart from what promises to be a crowded field of candidates,” Mr. Madsen used his speech to talk about the need to remove the influence of money in elections.
It is unclear whether the self-imposed $1 donation limit will prevent his campaign from fulfilling basic legal requirements, such as paying a required monetary deposit with Elections Alberta.
When asked some key questions about his $1 pledge on the daveberta.ca Facebook page, Mr. Madsen provided some quick responses.
On the required candidate deposit with Elections Alberta:
I will discuss this with the central party office. Because it is conditionally refundable I will probably have it paid out of our normal constituency rebate on contributions. Otherwise I have asked the constituency to return the constituency rebates to the central campaign.
On his personal on financial contribution to his campaign:
I will donate no more than $1500 personally and that will likely be in the form of deferred expenses. There are no secret trap doors here allowing money in the back door. I think credibility is our most important asset and I normally donate that amount anyways. The challenge is that there is no roadmap for this approach.
It is unclear whether Mr. Madsen fully understands how this could handicap his campaign. Trying to remove the influence of money in politics is a noble venture, but it ignores the reality that money is needed to purchase essential items like campaign signs, handbills, and in large rural constituencies like West Yellowhead, fuel for a candidate’s vehicle.
Records from the 2004 election show that Mr. Madsen’s campaign spent $17,940 in West Yellowhead, accumulating a $1,024 deficit. Mr. Madsen earned 1,771 votes.