A Provincial committee has passed a motion that would put a spending cap on how much political parties can spend during election campaigns.
The Ethics and Accountability Committee voted to set a limit of 80 cents per voter, or just over $2 million.
Committee member, Wildrose MLA Glenn van Dijken argued that figure is too low.
“Costs continue to go up,” Glenn says, “and when we take a look at a single mailer possibly taking up 25, 30% of this 80 cents, just to get your one message out to Albertans, I suggest this is definitely too low a number.”
However, NDP MLA Marie Renaud says parties that pull in too much cash can drown out other viewpoints.
“Political discourse is dominated,” Renaud says, “and it deprives opposition of a reasonable opportunity to speak when there is not adequate policy around expenditures and spending. It undermines the voters’ ability to be adequately informed of all views.
But Wildrose MLA Nathan Cooper counters that a limit is not fair, since the governing party can spend what it wants on advertising.
“Having a spending limit of around two million dollars when the government can easily spend six, eight, ten million dollars in advertising during that year, just doesn’t seem very realistic.”
Last election, the PCs spent $4.3 million, the Wildrose $1.1 million, and the NDP $1.6 million. (kdr, ms)