Spending doesn’t guarantee Coldstream council seat

Jim Garlick didn’t have to spend even a quarter what his competitor did to earn his victory in Coldstream mayoralty race...

That old saying that money talks doesn’t appear to ring true in Coldstream.

Candidates from the 2011 municipal election have now filed their expense forms, which reveal that Jim Garlick didn’t have to spend even a quarter what his competitor did to earn his victory.

The mayor, who was re-elected in November (with 1,578 votes), had $766 in election expenses. Meanwhile, Dave Hrabchuk, who ran against Garlick for the mayor’s position, had expenses totalling $5,735.

“I question the need to spend a lot of money,” said Garlick, who already served one term as mayor and one prior as councillor.

“You more or less think that people have seen what you stand for.”

While he doesn’t agree with incumbents spending unnecessary amounts, he understands that first-time candidates like Hrabchuk need to get their name and positions known.

“When you’re coming on board the first time, it’s hard, it’s all coming out of pocket,” said Garlick.

And Hrabchuk doesn’t see his election expenses as a waste of money.

“I still got one-third of the vote when only (32.5) per cent of the population showed up,” said Hrabchuk, who garnered 829 of the 2,413 votes cast.

“In three years time I’d probably have a little better success in the community,” adds Hrabchuk, who wouldn’t say if his name might appear on the next municipal election ballot in 2014.

While Hrabchuk spent $5,700 on his campaign, a portion of that came from individual and company donations.

Contributions to Hrabchuk’s campaign included $1,000 from Bear Paw Earthworks, $800 from David Paterson and $500 each from Keith Construction, R.E. Postill and Sons and Darryl O’Brian.

But neither Hrabchuk, nor Garlick, see such donations as attempts to persuade candidates, if elected, to make decisions in their favour.

“If you start falling into that trap it can get really messy,” said Garlick, adamant that decisions should be made based on the issues, not the people involved.

“I hope everybody acts that way.”

Meanwhile, Hrabchuk says candidate decisions often reflect their supporter’s views.

“Candidates receive support from people who are like-minded.”

While the expenses of running a campaign can quickly add up, one candidate managed to escape any costs.

Despite not being elected, Glen Taylor had zero election expenses by re-using campaign signs from previous elections.

But that’s not to say that money talks, as evident with candidate John Hegler who spent $695 on his campaign and didn’t earn a seat on council.

The top spending councillor candidate was Peter McClean, dolling out $965.

Doug Dirk’s $145 election investment gained him another term on council, alongside Pat Cochrane who spent $288, Gyula Kiss who spent $462, Maria Besso spent $534 and Richard Enns who spent $701.

Mayor candidates

Dave Hrabchuk: $5,735

Jim Garlick: $766

Councillor candidates

Peter McClean: $965

Richard Enns: $701

John Hegler: $695

Maria Besso: $534

Gyula Kiss: $462

Pat Cochrane: $288

Doug Dirk: $145

Glen Taylor: $0