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Election spending limits in place, Kelowna interest still growing

Candidates can only take donations of up to $1,200 from individuals

Candidates running in upcoming civic elections across B.C. will face campaign spending limits for the first time this fall.

New civic election spending rules in place for the Oct. 20 vote not only set limits for how much mayoral, councillor and school trustee candidates can spend on their campaigns, they also limit the amount third party advertisers can spend to promote, or oppose, candidates in the civic elections.

And those limits appear to put an end to bids such as the one seven years ago in Kelowna by a group calling itself Four Change. It targeted four incumbent city councillors it did not want to see re-elected while promoting four newcomers.

In 2011, Four Change spent $30,000 to promote the incoming council quartet, making it clear it wanted to see them replace four incumbents. Four Change had branded council at the time “dysfunctional.” Three of the four candidates it supported were elected and the four targeted incumbents all lost their seats.

In the 2014 election, Four Change re-emerged as and publicly supported Colin Basran for mayor over Sharon Shepherd. At the time, Basran said he did not ask for the organization’s support and considered it both potentially helpful and harmful, given only three of the candidates Four Change supported in 2011 were elected.


The new spending rules for this October’s election limit third-party individuals or groups to a maximum $3,893.08 in Kelowna to promote or oppose a candidate.

The amount candidates can spend on their campaigns is based on population and differs across the province.

In the Central Okanagan, the limit for mayoral campaigns in Kelowna is $76,781.50, in West Kelowna $25,224.50, in Lake Country $13,294 and in Peachland $10,000. The limits for councillor campaigns range from a high of $38,952.40 in Kelowna to a low of $5,000 in Peachland and the wards in Lake Country. School district trustee candidates in the Central Okanagan can spend between $5,000 and $40,825.04 depending on where they are running. (Exact amounts are available from Elections B.C.)

According to Andrew Watson, communications manager for Elections B.C., this is the first time civic campaign spending limits have been set and only the second time Elections B.C. has involved itself with any aspect of civic elections. The first time was in 2014.

Starting with the upcoming civic election, candidate will also not be allowed to accept donations from corporations of unions.

Despite seeing quarter of the $76,000 he spent on his campaign in 2014 raised from corporations, Basran has said in the past he is not opposed to the new civic campaign spending rules. The new rules limit donations to a maximum of $1,200 from eligible individuals to any single candidate.

Kelowna city hall is directing all questions about civic election financing rules to Elections B.C.

Meanwhile, according to Kelowna chief elections officer Karen Neadham, four mayoral, nine councillor and two school trustee election packages have been picked up since they became available July 27.

The city releases the names of those who pick up packages if the person agrees.

Those who have picked up packages so far include:

• For mayor: Basran, Robert Shewe and Joshua Hoggan

• For councillor: Loyal Wooldridge, incumbent Luke Stack and Ryan Donn, Amarjit Lali and Ernie Webber

• For school trustee: Rolli Cacchioni and David Haight

In 2014, there was a total of 49 candidates - eight for mayor, 31 for council and 10 for Kelowna school district trustee.

The official campaign period, will run from Sept. 22 to voting day Oct. 20.

The city will hold a candidate information session at city hall Aug 23 to familiarize anyone thinking about running for council with what the jobs of mayor and councillor entail.

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