FDA Electoral Finance Study of the 2010 Calgary Mayoral Election

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The chart illustrates the proportion of each candidate’s contributions, separated by amount. 95.9% of gross contributions to all mayoral candidates were over $100, while 4.1% of gross contributions to all mayoral candidates were under $100.

Executive Summary

This FDA electoral finance study focuses on the 2010 Calgary Mayoral Election. The main purpose of the research is to tabulate the amount of contributions for all candidates. As the research progressed, further inquiry was made into the reporting system used by the City of Calgary, within provincial legislation. (2013 election finance data is not publicly disclosed until after Election Day on October 21, 2013; only voluntary and incomplete financial data is available now.)

Our results indicate that the top three candidates accounted for two-thirds of total campaign financing or 67 percent. The FDA also observed a wide variation between candidates with respect to the proportion of financing originating from different types of contributors. This includes distinctions based on contribution amount (under $100 versus over $100), and contribution source (individuals versus business versus unions). For example, 95.9 percent of gross contributions to all mayoral candidates were over $100, while 4.1 percent of gross contributions to all mayoral candidates were under $100. Also, at least 51.1 percent of total contributions to mayoral candidates were from corporations.

The FDA concludes that electoral finance process in the 2010 City of Calgary mayoral election had a number of shortcomings, which in turn likely impacted the electoral fairness of the election, and the correlation between the voice of Calgarians and the election results.

The FDA acknowledges that the root issue stems from Alberta’s Local Authorities Election Act, which the Alberta Provincial Government has jurisdiction over. However, the FDA believes that the City of Calgary still has the ability to improve the electoral finance process. For example, for modest costs, the City Calgary can upgrade and standardize the way campaign finances are reported to the City by candidates, and subsequently reported by the City to the general public.

 

Relevant Links

2013 Calgary Mayoral Election: Where is the Election Money Coming From?

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