Sturgeon candidates who pounded in lawn signs, took out newspaper advertising and knocked on doors across the county last fall did it on their own dime, according to campaign disclosure reports.
The reports were due March 1 and must detail where a candidate received funding for their campaign. Any donations over $100 have to be disclosed, detailing who provided the funds.
The provincial government brought in a campaign disclosure bill last year in time for the 2010 election, following the passage of Athabasca-Redwater MLA Jeff Johnson’s private member’s bill.
The legislation required candidates to set up a separate bank account and keep records of their donations and spending. An exception was granted for candidates who funded their campaigns from their own pockets, provided they did not spend more than $10,000.
Many municipalities had bylaws in place in previous election campaigns that had very similar requirements to the provincial law, but Sturgeon was just in the process of drafting a disclosure bylaw when the law took effect.
Coun. Ken McGillis, who was pushing for a county disclosure bylaw, said he paid for his own campaign, which he estimated cost about $300.
He said the new law really didn’t influence his approach to funding the campaign.
“The last time I ran it was the same thing, I paid for my own campaign. It is not big dollars that’s for sure.”
Coun. Karen Shaw, who won her spot in Div. 6 by acclamation, said the new law simply makes sense.
In the 2007 election when she first won her seat, Shaw said she disclosed her few donors to anyone who asked.
“I have nothing to hide at any time. The last time I disclosed and I didn’t have to and it was all friends and family and I disclosed their names,” she said. “I think every level of government should disclose.”
Shaw said the requirements that a candidate open a separate bank account and keep records are hardly onerous and there is no reason a candidate shouldn’t go that route.
“If that is an imposition then you are going into the wrong line of work.”
The disclosure documents are available for anyone interested in viewing them at the county offices.