Thursday, February 11, 2010

Montreal municipal elections costs

The excellent blog Spacing Montreal, reported on the costs of the last election here in Montreal. Check these numbers out:

Here are the total expenses of the three main Montreal parties:

* - Union Montréal: $1.5 million
* - Vision Montréal: $1.4 million
* - Projet Montréal: $245,000

When one compares with amount of money spent with the amount of votes received for each party’s mayoral candidate, here’s the dollar per vote breakdown:

* - Union Montréal: $9.35 per vote
* - Vision Montréal: $10 per vote
* - Projet Montréal: $2.30 per vote

And guess what? The city taxes pay half of that bill, so we are basically out $1.6 million dollars that could have been spent on so many other things. For me, these numbers simply reinforce what a joke Louise Harel's election campaign was. With her broom sweeping clean and all that. I know some people that worked on her campaign and they are good, lefty environmentalists but they are also proud Quebeckers and I think pretty strong separatists. I think their allegiance to Harel is a great example of how their nationalism blinds them to the greater flaws. Her party is basically a big-spending, advertisement-driven establishment party, no different than Tremblay's. Yet they somehow convince themselves that she is acceptable, even though her environmental platform sucked, her party is mired in old-school corruption and, as we see here, they spend to win.

I'm glad my vote only cost us $2.30. Let's hope this news gets spread far and wide and puts a bit of pressure on the other parties to cut down on their election spending. These numbers really add weight to Projet Montréal's success.


Olivier said...

Interesting point. It'll be interesting to see how much PM spends on the next election. I mean, had they had access to more money, you think they would have kept it that low? You seem pretty well informed about that stuff, so I'm very interested on your point of view on this...

And glad to see you keep dusting off the old blog, my RSS feed was a bit too hockey-centric lately :)

WalkerP said...

It's a good question. My first thought was that it would seem to follow that Projet Montreal are going to spend more money in the next election. It's the "price" of victory. If you are more successful, you will attract more donations and thus have more to spend. It's interesting to note, for instance, that when I went to volunteer with them, I was directed to a donation page and it seemed to appear that I had to donate to become a volunteer.

The next question, then, was whether or not they have a specific policy about spending or if it was just a question of not having the money at all, as you suggested. Maybe if I run into Luc Ferrandez on the street one day (I've seen him twice now as well as Richard Bergeron once on his bike), I'll ask him.

Finally, I was thinking about this and I think that my first reaction (that not spending money is good because fewer tax dollars are used on the campaign) was a bit simple. I think that maybe the real reason a cheaper campaign is better is because it may be a more direct campaign. The expensive costs of a campaign are the ones that reach many people but not at much depth (advertising, signs, flyers and so on). If you have a limited budget, you are forced to replace that kind of spending with actual human work. Hitting the streets, going to events, phoning people, organizing meetings and rallies, which is exactly what Projet Montreal did.

So to that end, I hope Projet Montreal keeps their election budget down and stays out in the streets with their voters.

Glad you are still reading, Olivier. Nice win by the Habs the other night, for sure!