Spending determines election outcomes

Letter to the editor on how donations and money dictate election successes

Re: $5.57 per vote (News, Mar. 21)

It’s very likely that the determining factor in the outcome of the mayoralty race in the recent municipal election in Saanich was the amount of money spent campaigning.

Successful candidate Frank Leonard spent $62,061 while rival David Cubberley spent $46,252. Cubberley summed it up nicely: “It all comes down to money.”

Cubberley believes that if he had matched Leonard dollar for dollar he would have won. We’ll never know for sure if Cubberley is right, but campaign spending is certainly an issue at all levels of government.

Our democratic system is based on the individual. Every eligible voter gets one vote. But individuals cannot compete with large contributions from businesses or organizations.

These vested interests hijack the democratic process.

This fundamental unfairness is a big reason behind voter apathy and loss of faith in the democratic system at all levels.

We can re-balance the system starting at the municipal level. Before the next election, we need to put a limit on the total amount per candidate that can be spent on an election campaign and, there also needs to be a limit on the amount that an individual, business or organization can contribute.

John R. Paterson

Saanich

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