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The $5-million civic election comes to Vancouver

March 13th, 2009 · 8 Comments

Not all the financial disclosures are in yet — still waiting for many of the Non-Partisan Association candidates — but there’s now enough in to show that the spending reached unbelievable new levels.

Vision Vancouver spent almost $2 million, as I report in the Globe this morning. (The documents will be filed with the city later today and likely put up on the website Monday, for those who want to study the entrails closely.) The NPA, as I reported earlier, says it raised and spent $1 million, but mayoral candidate Peter Ladner raised and spent $240,000 (of which $40,000 was transferred to the party) and the other 10 mayoral candidates must have raised and spent at least another $300-500,000 among them. It’s a bit hard to figure out the NPA finances in a quick scan because there are money transfers among the candidates and from candidate to party. As well, their documents don’t say what they consider their election-financing period to be.

It looks like close to $1 million was spent by the five candidates who ran for mayoral nominations for their parties: $240,000 for Raymond Louie, almost $200,000 for Gregor Robertson, $74,000 according to Allan DeGenova’s preliminary but never finalized numbers (which everyone thinks are much higher), $158,000 for Peter Ladner at the NPA and then an amount we’re never likely to know from Sam Sullivan, who has not been required to file by either his party or the current rules at city hall.

I found Raymond Louie’s disclosure the most surprising. I think, given the level of baying about his campaign expenses here and there, that people were expecting he’d been bankrolled by the development community. Certainly, many developers I’ve talked to felt like they knew Raymond better than Gregor and liked his understanding of the development industry. Instead, it looks like his quarter-million-dollar mayoral campaign (ouch) was funded heavily by many Chinese community members who don’t normally get involved in politics.

A Fred Wang, whom Raymond described to me as a businessman who has worked with the Taiwanese cultural festival, gave $80,000. Another Taiwanese festival/businessman type, Charlie Wu, gave $10,000. Two other donors, former bankers in the community, Brian Lo and Chong Yeung, each gave $10,000. Raymond’s mother, Sue, put in $20,000 and Raymond himself put in $10,000. What I spotted from the developer set in my scan: Concord Pacific ($5,000); Rize Alliance ($7,000); Joe Segal($3,000), architect James Cheng ($5,000), the Walls, under various company names ($4,000). On and Raymond’s union, the Communication Energy and Paperworkers, put in $5,000.

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