BACKGROUND: Campaign Finances

campaign-financesdollar-sign Mayor Bob Bratina’s $15,000 presentation on amalgamation this month prompted grumbling about the propriety of using City of Hamilton funds for what some councillors considered straight-up electioneering.

Bratina is viewed as a mayoralty candidate who hasn’t yet declared, and opponents objected to the use of his office budget to take care of an unfulfilled 2010 election promise.  (See Andrew Dreschel column )

  • The situation prompts a look at what the rules actually are, and a review of what the major mayoralty candidates in Hamilton and Burlington spent in 2010.

Under the Municipal Elections Act, contributions can only be accepted and expenses incurred during the campaign period, which begins on the day the nomination is filed.

In Hamilton, only four candidates have filed for mayor:  one-time councillor Don Ross, sitting councillor Brian McHattie,  perennial candidate Michael Baldasaro and landscaping company owner Crystal Lavigne.  Bratina has said he sees no reason not to run, and it is expected that former mayor Fred Eisenberger will also run.

  • The cost of running for mayor is high, but expenditures are governed by the Elections Act. All goods & services purchased or donated must be declared. Candidates can spend a maximum that’s based on a formula.

For mayors in every city, it’s $7,500 per candidate, plus 85 cents per elector.  Here are the figures for major mayoralty candidates in 2010.

HAMILTON

Maximum allowed to spend: $308,312.

Bob Bratina: 52,684 votes, spent  $103,565

Larry Di Ianni: 40,091votes, spent $224,282

Fred Eisenberger: 38,719 votes, spent $93,787

BURLINGTON

Maximum allowed to spend: $115,074

Rick Goldring: 21,797 votes, spent $98,182

Carol D’Amelio: 11,285 votes, spent $98,805

Cam Jackson: 10,055 votes, spent $82,500

Philip Papadopolous: 2,069 votes, spent $99,900

See more about Burlington election races at Joan Little’s column on thespec.com

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