Woodfibre LNG, Ajax Mine Dropped Big Bucks in B.C.’s Local Elections

Well, the disclosure statements are in and we now know (sort of) how much was spent trying to sway voters during B.C.’s local elections in November.

In addition to disclosures on how much candidates spent during the elections, there are also filings for more than 100 organizations registered with Elections BC as third-party sponsors. This is the first time third parties have been forced to register with Elections BC and report their spending — and at least two resource companies are in the mix.

Big third-party advertisers include Woodfibre LNG, which spent $18,248 on newspaper and radio ads in Squamish, where the company is proposing a liquefied natural gas export terminal. The company spent 17 times what it would be allowed to spend per capita during a provincial election, according to analysis by Integrity BC — a non-profit organization that campaigns to reform B.C.’s electoral finance.

That’s because B.C. still has no limits on spending during local elections — despite a task force recommending limits be implemented back in 2010.

Integrity BC’s Dermod Travis notes that all that spending didn’t work out so well for Woodfibre LNG. Patricia Heintzman won the mayor's chair with a spend of $11,842, defeating the more LNG-friendly incumbent Rob Kirkham.

Woodfibre LNG election spending in Squamish

KGHM Spends $8,600 on Ajax Mine Letter

Meanwhile in Kamloops, KGHM International spent $8,605 on a mailing about its proposed Ajax Mine — an open-pit copper and gold mine proposed within Kamloops city limits. The company writes in a post on its website that the letter was sent to a “group of Ajax supporters.” The letter included a list of all candidates running for Kamloops city council and listed their public positions on the Ajax mine.

“At a cost of $8,605 that was either one very large group or one very long letter,” Travis notes. “Didn't work out so well for the mine either when the results came in.”

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Spending Remains a Mystery

As is often the case, the biggest story may be in what we don't know.

In October, Elections BC ruled that Kinder Morgan didn’t need to register as a third-party sponsor despite launching a major advertising offensive about its proposed Trans Mountain oilsands pipeline to Burnaby during the election. Due to that ruling, Kinder Morgan’s spending during the election will forever remain a mystery.

Photo: My Sea to Sky

New title

You’ve read all the way to the bottom of this article. That makes you some serious Narwhal material.

And since you’re here, we have a favour to ask. Our independent, ad-free journalism is made possible because the people who value our work also support it (did we mention our stories are free for all to read, not just those who can afford to pay?).

As a non-profit, reader-funded news organization, our goal isn’t to sell advertising or to please corporate bigwigs — it’s to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians. And at a time when most news organizations have been laying off reporters, we’ve hired five journalists over the past year.

Not only are we filling a void in environment coverage, but we’re also telling stories differently — by centring Indigenous voices, by building community and by doing it all as a people-powered, non-profit outlet supported by more than 3,300 members

The truth is we wouldn’t be here without you. Every single one of you who reads and shares our articles is a crucial part of building a new model for Canadian journalism that puts people before profit.

We know that these days the world’s problems can feel a *touch* overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like what we do doesn’t make any difference, but becoming a member of The Narwhal is one small way you truly can make a difference.

We’ve drafted a plan to make 2021 our biggest year yet, but we need your support to make it all happen.

If you believe news organizations should report to their readers, not advertisers or shareholders, please become a monthly member of The Narwhal today for any amount you can afford.

Finding the Mother Tree: ecologist Suzanne Simard offers solutions to B.C.’s forest woes

Everything in an ecosystem is connected. A tiny sapling relies on a towering ancient tree, just like a newborn baby depends on its mother. And...

Continue reading

Recent Posts

Help power our ad-free, non‑profit journalism
The Narwhal is coming to Ontario!

We’re on the verge of launching an Ontario bureau. Stay in the know by signing up for a weekly dose of our ad‑free, independent journalism.