Metro Vancouver mayors spent $5.8 million to push Yes vote

14 firms got transit referendum campaign funds from mayors' council

The Metro Vancouver mayors’ council spent $5.8 million provided by TransLink in an attempt to swing more area residents to the Yes side in the referendum on increasing the sales tax to pay for more transit.

The money financed a bombardment of media advertising, robo-calls, mailouts and street canvassing to try to reach voters.

The largest expenditure – $2.3 million – was spent on media advertising, but voter contact was a close second.

The disclosure released by the mayors’ council details payments to 14 firms providing public relations, communications, strategic or other support.

More than 840,000 voters were robo-called to participate in one of the 15 telephone town halls conducted by mayors. The Yes campaign says 151,000 actually participated.

The request from the mayors was approved by the TransLink board of directors.

No campaign leader Jordan Bateman said the mayors’ disclosure still under estimates the Yes campaign’s war chest because it doesn’t count at least $1 million worth of staff time or in-kind contributions by municipalities such as Surrey, Vancouver and New Westminster, or other money and effort expended by the Yes coalition.

The No campaign spent less than $40,000 with the largest contribution coming from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Bateman’s employer. “Whatever the result, we stood up for everyday people and made our case to the voters without wasting millions of their dollars like the mayors did,” Bateman said.

Voters were asked through the mail-in plebiscite if they approve a 0.5 per cent sales tax hike within Metro Vancouver to fund a $7.5-billion package of improvements, including new rapid transit lines in Vancouver and Surrey, and broad improvement in bus service.

Ballots that were received by May 29 by Elections BC are now being counted and a result is expected by the end of June.

Just Posted

Surrey council approves free two-hour parking at city hall, around hospital

Although council gave its blessing to offer the free parking Monday (Nov. 19), it was already made free last week

Surrey School District says it needs 7 new schools in next decade

Surrey council endorsed the district’s 2019-20 capital plan on Monday, Nov. 19

Surrey Fire Service to provide non-emergency dispatch services for Port Moody

It’s said the move will bring in more than $9,000 a year for the City of Surrey

Second person dies following head-on collision in Surrey

Paige Nagata of Abbotsford was in crash on Nov. 4 that also killed Sarah Dhillon

Man still in hospital after struck by car in Surrey last week

The man was airlifted to hospital with “potential life-threatening” injuries after the incident

White Rock pier light show

Dancing lights highlighted off the water front

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

11 years sought for Burnaby man who killed girlfriend with hammer, burned her body

Manslaughter sentencing hearing started Monday in Chilliwack for Ryan Armstrong

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Most Read