There were some big bucks spent trying to sway voters during May’s provincial election.
Elections B.C. has released financial reports from before and during the campaign and it shows that Eric Foster and the Liberals spent about $72,006 in Vernon-Monashee.
“This is what it takes,” said Foster, who was elected to a second term as MLA.
He points out that that much of the money went to signs and the media (including The Morning Star).
“You have to advertise and get your message out.”
The financial reports also highlight campaign contributions over $250 and Foster received $17,722. He also had $6,410 in donations under $250. Among them was $3,000 from Sleeman Brewing and $1,500 from Kalview Enterprises. There were also transfers from the Liberal Party.
Foster insists donations allow a company or individual to support the party of their choice but there is no ability to influence government decisions as a result.
The NDP’s Mark Olsen had expenses of about $74,815.
“You want to get your message out and people involved as much as possible,” said Olsen.
“We need to get people aware of what’s going on.”
In terms of donations worth more than $250, Olsen had $18,602 and $138 under $250. His donors included $16,748 from various branches of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. There were also transfers from the NDP.
Olsen says the NDP policies are not influenced by donors and he would support scrapping corporate and union contributions for parties.
“The NDP is supportive of all working people, not just unions.”
Scott Anderson, the B.C. Conservative candidate, had expenses of $4,901 during the campaign.
He had $5,508 in donations worth more than $250 and $1,255 valued at less than $250. Contributions included $1,000 from Dianne Duperson and $1,300 from the Vernon-Monashee Conservative Party.
“All or almost all of our local campaign donations came from private supporters,” he said.
“That’s in stark contrast to the Liberals and NDP who were, I believe, primarily financed by unions and corporations, and who each spent 10 times the amount we spent.”
Independent candidate Korry Zepik had expenses of $947 while Green candidate Rebecca Helps reported $15 in expenses.