--> Getting It Right: City Machinations

Friday, March 31, 2006

City Machinations

If you only took a quick glance through the recently released campaign contributions for each of the three municipal parties, you might fall prey to the classic Vancouver stereotype that the NPA is the home of the wealthy and the city’s left has to scramble for cash for their campaigns.

Except that, for Vancouver’s Fall 2005 municipal campaign, it simply isn’t true.

Sure the NPA spent $1.9 million.

Vision spent $1.5 million and COPE, still struggling with a debt left behind when Green et al abandoned them, spent $530,000.

But where it gets interesting is when you start to compare seats ran for and won.

Vision Vancouver, headlined by Mayoral candidate Jim Green, contested only five council positions plus the mayor’s seat. They won four of them.

Four seats. $1.5 million dollars. That’s $375,000 per council seat. Those are pretty darn expensive seats.

They won four of the six positions contested. No kidding – with that kind of dough, if you couldn’t spread your message, you might have greater problems.

COPE, on the other hand, didn’t put forward their own mayoral candidate, either because they were happy enough with Jim Green or couldn’t find anyone willing to take him on.

But they also contested seats on all three boards: council, school board and parks board. They won six positions at about $83,000 per position. That’s pretty good.

To place COPE’s success in context, Vision spent $4.50 for every $1 COPE spent to win a seat.

I’m sure COPE would have liked to have raised and spent more, but it just wasn’t possible without a headlining mayoral candidate.

Now, let’s contrast Vision’s record with that of the NPA, supposedly the party of big business and the elite, though last I checked, the elite doesn’t hail from Kensington or other points east - parts of the city that the NPA picked up this time around.

The NPA won five council seats, the mayor’s chair, six school board spots and five parks board positions. A grand total of 17 seats at a total cost of $1.9 million dollars. For those doing the math, that’s $111,765 per seat won.

Again, let’s draw the picture. The supposedly left of centre Vision spent over three times more for each elected position than the NPA did for the seats they captured.

Not only that, Vision’s cost for each candidate was a hefty price tag of $250,000 per candidate. The NPA spent about $70,370 per candidate.

Interestingly, the combined spending of Vision and COPE totaled $2.03 million and exceeded that of the NPA. Of course, COPE will say that’s irrelevant, but given together COPE and Vision made up a full slate, I’m not sure it is.

As seen today in 24 Hours Daily


At 11:07 a.m., Blogger PelaLusa said...


Interesting points. But one question: In your eighth paragraph you said, "They won four of the six positions contested." Weren't there 10 positions being contested?

At 12:26 p.m., Blogger Erin Airton said...

Hi there.
Vision only ran for six positions. There were ten council spots, but they only sought five of those and mayor.

By the way, drop me an email on the mining stuff: eairton@telus.net

At 1:25 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh Erin, Erin.

There are many forms of capital and many more expressions of privilege.

I suggest that you at least go to Wikipedia and look up "social capital" and its role in determining privilege among the elite - this will save you having to obtain a library card.

At 5:19 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always wonder how this anti-capitalists NDPers collect their election funds. The information may be as revealing as the use of private clinic by Jack Layton.

B. John

At 9:58 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, they probably obtain donations from progressive people of privilege who realize the fact that their lot in life is not solely to do with their own personal abilities and, therefore, that they should help elect a party that actually has a critical understanding of inequalities in Canada.

For example, the NDP is a party that would not insult the poor as well as the intelligence of all Canadians by suggesting that $100 per month is adequate to obtain quality childcare.

As if Conservative pundits would EVER entrust their children to any day care for which they pay $3.33 per day. Does such a day care even exist? Even the assumption that only 22 days/month (stretching the amount to just under $5 per day) - "work days" - would require these funds is born out of an incredible and pompous ignorance.

I would love a response from our host pundit, if she so deigns.

I trust that this answers your question, B. John.

At 12:01 p.m., Blogger Erin Airton said...

Hi there -

Some thoughts to consider...

"The B.C. Child Care Subsidy is income-tested and available to all B.C. families who are eligible based on their income. The maximum subsidy for three-to-five-year-olds in group day care is $368 per month. The maximum subsidy for toddlers 18 months to threeyears in group day care is $528 per month. Eligibility for the B.C. Child Care Subsidy is assessed by the Ministry of Human Resources. The B.C. Child Care Subsidy is administered by that ministry." Langara College Childcare Centre

My son's daycare (yes, I have two children who require childcare) is just over $550 per month for a liscensed centre. He is four years old. The difference between the subsidy (given to those who really need help) and the fee would be about $182 in my example. The hundred dollars from the new Federal program allows the parent to spend only $82/month for care.

That $100 extra per month really does make a difference for a family just getting by. A few years ago, I had two babies and a husband in school - that $100 would have made a big impact on our household budget.

Daycare centres cover off a very small percentage of children in care. Many are looked after by their mothers, their fathers, their grandmas or other relatives. Some parents work opposite shifts and develop other creative systems to look after their little ones. This is not, as some would suggest, because there aren't enough spaces, but rather because many parents prefer not to have their children in daycare. This extra $100 makes a difference to their lives, as well.

So, between existing subsidies and the extra funding, tell me how this hurts struggling families?

Is it perfect? Probably not. But is it a good, fair step that will deliver help to those that truly need it - the working poor? I believe so.

I'm also interested in learning from my readers how they cared for their children when they were young...

Best wishes,

At 5:05 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been looking for resources on family and home information including debt reduction golf training and child care information golf training


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