The Non-Partisan Association spent $2.5 million on its 2011 election campaign, with its largest donation coming from a corporation owned by the party’s fundraising chair, financial disclosure documents indicate.
Macdonald Development Corporation, a company owned by Rob Macdonald, donated $960,000 to the NPA leading up to the election in November.
The NPA's financial disclosure statement filed at city hall shows the party raised $6,792 more than it spent on the campaign that elected seven of its candidates between city council, park board and school board.
“Rob showed tremendous leadership and support for the campaign,” said campaign chair Peter Armstrong of Macdonald's donation. “He thought it was very important for Vancouver that different points of view be discussed, and that democracy was better served by having two strong campaign teams out there talking about their points of view.”
Macdonald was a vocal critic of Vision Vancouver's separated bike lanes project, and of the city's handling of the Olympic Village development.
Other large donations to the party included $100,000 from Newway Concrete Forming in Burnaby, $100,000 from an individual named L. Lundin, $50,000 from Amacon Construction, and $50,000 from the Great Canadian Railtour Co. Armstrong also contributed $50,000.
The party spent $919,853 on advertising, $702,080 on research and polling expenses, and $275,883 on compensation for staff. The campaign secured the party two seats on city council, three on school board, and two on the Vancouver park board.
Armstrong said campaign organizers were proud of what they were able to do during the campaign.
“We came from a behind position, and we’re proud to have elected seven NPA representatives between the council, school board and park board,” he told the Straight by phone.
According to the financial disclosure statement submitted at Vancouver City Hall by Vision Vancouver last week, the party spent $2.2 million on the November 2011 election campaign. All of the party’s candidates were elected in the November 19 vote.
The Coalition of Progressive Electors, which lost all of its representatives aside from school trustee Allan Wong, spent $360,969 on its campaign. The party raised $361,120, including $285,525 in contributions from unions, according to its financial disclosure.
COPE issued a statement last week calling for electoral reforms, including a $1.50 registered voter spending limit for electoral organizations, along with a per person contribution limit of $500.
Vision Vancouver also indicated last week that the party will continue to push the provincial government for electoral reform. City council recently passed a motion urging the provincial government to update the Vancouver Charter to allow the city to set campaign finance rules.
Former city council candidate and COPE external chair RJ Aquino urged the city to “take the matter into its own hands” if the provincial government doesn’t agree to implement the reform measures.
“If the Province won’t do anything about it, it’s time Vancouver civic parties entered into a voluntary arrangement based on city by-laws,” Aquino said in the statement.
Financial disclosure statements posted on the City of Vancouver’s website also show that the Vancouver Green Party raised $9,513 and spent $9,475 in its campaign that elected first-time city councillor Adriane Carr, and that new electoral group Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver raised $26,089 and spent $40,441.
The full financial disclosure statements can be viewed on the City of Vancouver’s website.