I like spreadsheets…. lol.

Below you’ll find images of a spreadsheet I have compiled with every candidate in the ACRD including Port Alberni, Tofino, Ucluelet and area Directors and SD70 Trustees. You can download the full spreadsheet in Apple Numbers and Microsoft Excel format.

You will see what everyone spent, the value of the entire enterprise of campaigning for nearly a year, the contributors to people’s campaigns, and the direct link to each candidates statement.

Big Disclaimer – This Information May Change

I must emphasize that it is very likely these expense numbers will change. The way Elections BC has you report expenses is unintuitive, and after going through 80 reports, I think it is safe to say many candidates may re-submit their reports. They may even be re-working them right now.

I know that I have not received any correspondence from Elections BC on having to redo my returns. I did in 2014 though, and Elections BC posts all amendments along with the originals. They are usually pretty quick on that… but that doesn’t mean other candidates may not be updating their statements.

If I notice any changes, I will update this page and my spreadsheet. If you notice anything updated or wrong, please do let me know.

I’ve expanded a bit more about the information below but first, here’s the stats, listed by the number of votes received.

Port Alberni Mayor Candidates

* Means Elected. Click here for Elections BC Reports for all Port Alberni Mayor Candidates.

Port Alberni City Council Candidates

* Means Elected. Click here for Elections BC Reports for all Port Alberni Council Candidates.

ACRD Area Directors Candidates

Click here for Elections BC Reports for ACRD Electoral Area Directors Candidates
Note that the Beaufort and Cherry Creek elections have been declared invalid and new by-elections have been scheduled for both.

SD70 School Trustees

* Means Elected Click Here for Elections BC Reports for SD70 School District Trustee Candidates

Tofino Mayor and Council Candidates.

* Means Elected Click Here for Elections BC Reports for Tofino Mayor and Council Candidates.

Ucluelet Mayor and Council Candidates

* Means ElectedClick Here for Elections BC Reports for Ucluelet Mayor and Council Candidates.

Did everyone report their stuff right? Probably not. And that’s OK (to a point).

The rules around campaign finance reporting are both pretty simple, but confusing. In 2014 I didn’t do it right the first time, and had to resubmit my expenses. Elections BC was very good about pointing out what was wrong and helping me fix it. You can see both my original and amended filings here.

Here are some key points:

Contributors includes yourself.

From the Elections BC Guide

A candidate giving money to their own campaign is making a campaign contribution.”

All your contributions have to go through a special campaign account.

Contributions over $100 must be named and recorded. $1200 limit except double for candidates.

You have to name and give an address for anyone who donates more than $100 to your campaign, including yourself. People can donate up to $1200 to you in the calendar year. Or you can contribute up to $2400 to your own campaign from your own funds. (You can also use loans).

The Campaign Period Spending Limit might have double counted items on purpose!

This is the really tricky and unintuitive part. Elections BC splits up the year of the election into two periods. January 1 to 28 days before the election, September 21 in this case, is called the “Election Period“. September 22 to October 20 is called the “Campaign Period

Because campaign stuff, especially something like signs, can end up being used during both the election period and the campaign period… or might be bought during the election period and used during the campaign period, the question is what period does it fall under to decide whether it counts to the Campaign Period spending limit which was $15,433.40 and $7,720.64 for Mayor and Council in Port Alberni respectively.

The answer is both.

Here’s an image from my own expense report. (see it in full here) Note the part I’ve captured in red.

“If Goods and Services were used in both periods, report the full amount used in both columns (eg. campaign signs).”

I bought my signs in July but I did not put them up until the campaign started in September. So I reported the expense in both columns. Similarly, I bought business cards in July but used them throughout the campaign right up to October 20 so I reported “the full amount used in both columns”.

The “Outflow” or “Total Expense” might not be what you think it is.

A citizen might think that the total is the amount that is under the “campaign spending limit” but it’s not because of the double reporting I mentioned. The total is actually the value of absolutely everything, including both periods, and also surpluses left over after the campaign. The Campaign period spending could actually be much less.

A lot of people reported wrong, that’s a problem for everyone.

Like I said, I made mistakes on my forms in 2014. I’m not trying to pick anyone out. After going through 80 reports, I see patterns in the reporting that leads me to believe a lot of people are not reporting correctly.

I don’t believe anyone is acting nefariously. The vast majority of people want to do things by the rules.

The problem is that the rules are unclear and unintuitive and I don’t think the legislation has given Elections BC the tools (through say, auditing actual receipts) to ensure that the reports are correct.

What good is all this transparency if it’s not correct? I hope Elections BC sees these inconsistencies and continues to improve the system. They did make improvements between 2014 and 2018. There are more improvements to make.

2 replies on “BC Local Election Campaign Expense reports… what if they’re all wrong? (well a bunch)”

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