For those who thought unions played too much of a role in last fall’s municipal elections, here’s some food for thought or, perhaps, fodder for the cannon.
There is no doubt that unions, particularly the Canadian Union of Public Employees, were more active than usual in the election. How active?
According to documents released by Elections BC, unions contributed $45,859 towards the 24 city council and two mayoralty candidates.
That sounds like a lot. But before you start tamping down the iron ball, let us put that number in perspective.
In total, $313,737 was contributed to the local candidates. While we can complain about the unions doling out the cash, businesses handed out a lot more.
Corporations donated $100,436 and non-incorporated businesses dished out $14,809 for a total business contribution of $115,245 to the local candidates.
Yes, we can voice our concern that unions contributed too much and we can complain that businesses contributed too much.
However, we should be pleased to see that the largest group of people donating to political candidates remains individuals.
Friends and relatives of the candidates forked over $152,633 to the cause. And, we suspect, a good portion of those corporations who gave, fall into the “friend and/or relative of a candidate” category rather than the more unsavory characterization of wanting to curry favour with those who are elected.
And there certainly are those … both from business and the trade unions. However, it’s refreshing to see that many of the candidates funded their own campaigns, or a good portion of them, and that many, many individuals dug into their pockets to help out those who were seeking office.
It’s also refreshing to see that in the mayor’s race and the school board trustee race, the candidates who dropped the most bucks didn’t automatically got elected. That shows the electorate took its time to learn about the candidates and made a choice based on something more than who had the most signs up along Ospika.
Money made the election go around, there’s no doubt about that. But it wasn’t in the booth when we were voting.