Big bucks spent for Vancouver Granville, Vancouver Centre in 2015 election

Vancouver Granville Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould headlined a controversial $500-a-plate Liberal Party fundraiser at a Toronto law firm earlier this month.

But, it turns out, the $759.79 she gave her own campaign last Oct. 9 was the only individual donation reported. The rest of the $246,202.17 war chest came via bulk transfers from her riding association and party head office, according to Elections Canada disclosures.

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Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould won the new riding with 44 per cent of the popular vote, and she reported a $74,159.39 surplus. The Oct. 19 election ended the longest modern Canadian federal election campaign with a Liberal majority under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

By comparison, NDP candidate Mira Oreck’s return lists the names of 167 people who gave between $200 and the maximum $1,500, totaling $83,686. Conservative Erinn Broshko brought in $53,960 from 79 named donors. Citizens and permanent residents were allowed to donate up to $1,500 to federal parties and candidates in 2015. In B.C., there are no provincial or municipal donation limits.

Broshko fell more than 400 votes shy of Oreck for third place, but was first place in another category. His $222,441.11 was the most spent in all six Vancouver ridings, though $193,526.14 officially counted against the $212,795.60 riding cap.

Wilson-Raybould’s campaign manager and official agent Lea MacKenzie was responsible for $61,355.94 in expenses, including $16,800 for salary and wages, $18,000.57 for advertising and $7,420.71 for office expenses. Mackenzie is now Wilson-Raybould’s director of political operations in Ottawa. Neither Wilson-Raybould nor MacKenzie responded for comment.

The $176,863.52 Oreck spent was just over $400 more than Wilson-Raybould. In the final week of the campaign, the Leadnow anti-Conservative strategic voting campaign favoured Oreck over Wilson-Raybould. More Liberal candidates endorsed by Leadnow, however, won in swing ridings, prompting some national union bosses to blame it for the NDP’s return to third-party status from the opposition benches.

Oreck’s forms show she was paid a $3,000 salary and that Stepan Vdovine, the executive director of Vision Vancouver, was paid $3,150 for creative services and $2,012 for furniture.

Vancouver Centre was the biggest four-way race in the city, with $431,226 spent. Liberal incumbent Hedy Fry’s $151,824.25 campaign included $21,629.41 for Paul Nixey, the Vision Vancouver co-chair. Payments to Nixey included $12,256.91 for advertising and $7,483.50 in salary.

Federal newcomer Jenny Kwan’s successful Vancouver East NDP campaign ($109,362.43) spent less than neighbouring Vancouver Kingsway NDP incumbent Don Davies ($116,076.27) and Vancouver Quadra Liberal Joyce Murray ($111,147.93). Vancouver East Conservative James Low lived up to his name, with a very conservative $10,917.65 spent.

Vancouver South Liberal winner Harjit Sajjan ($185,780.16) upset Tory incumbent Wai Young ($145,968.75). Manjeet Vinning, son of Liberal power broker Prem Vinning, was paid $10,500 to work on Sajjan’s campaign and is now the defence minister’s senior special assistant.

The Elections Canada database does not include reports for Vancouver Quadra NDP candidate Scott Andrews or Vancouver Kingsway Liberal Steven Kou.

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