It’s official: B.C.’s civic election campaign period kicks off

New spending, expense limits are in place

And so it begins: the municipal election campaign period is officially underway.

While candidates in many cities across B.C. had announced their intention to run over the summer months, the province’s newly shortened campaign period began this weekend.

In addition to being almost 20 days shorter compared to the 2014 campaign period, this year’s candidates will have much stricter spending limits.

Candidate rules

This go time around, union and corporate donations are banned altogether, and individual donations have a $1,200 limit.

Candidate spending has been strictly curtailed. In cities under 10,000 people, mayoral candidates may spend $10,000, while all other candidates are left with $5,000 to spend.

For cities over 10,000 people, Elections BC will use a per-capita formula. For example, mayoral candidates in Vancouver have a $210,174.60 spending limit, those in Victoria will get $54,121.50 and those in Surrey will have $195,234.90.

Elector organizations, or slates, will not get their own spending limits. Instead, candidates can sign over some of their expenses to their slate and it will spend the money on the candidate’s behalf.

Advertising limits

New rules on directed and issue advertising have come into effect. For communities of under 15,000 people, the directed advertising limit is $750.

Candidates in communities with populations over 15,000 will have a directed advertising limit equal to five per cent of the mayoral candidates expense limit in that electoral area.

For non-area specific issue advertising, the limit is $150,000.

Third-party advertisers will also have an overall limit of $150,000 for issue and directed advertisement across the entire province.

There are currently 28 third party sponsor organizations and three individuals registered.

British Columbians head to the polls on Oct. 20.


@katslepian

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