Mike Hicks wants the province to open his wallet and let him spend more money in this fall’s civic election.
Hicks, the Capital Regional District’s Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director, can only spend $5,000 in election expenses, which he calls challenging.
“It is impossible for me or any candidate to reach the electorate in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area with a limit of $ 5,000. My mail-out alone is $5,000 let alone signs, brochures and newspaper ads,” Hicks wrote in a letter to Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson.
The Juan de Fuca Electoral Area encompasses 150,000 hectares and includes 5,000 constituents in Port Renfrew, Jordan River, Shirley, Otter Point, East Sooke, Willis Point, and the Malahat.
The permitted spending amounts vary by the size of each municipality according to a population-based formula created by Elections B.C. It works out to $10,000 for mayoral candidates in cities of up to 10,000 people, rising to $89,250 for a population of 150,000, and reaching $149,250 for a city of 250,000.
But Hicks pointed out the mayors of Alert Bay, Zeballos, Tahsis, and Sayward with populations under 500 and as low as 125 residents have expense limits of $10,000.
In 2014, Hicks ran unopposed and had no election expenses. He plans to run for his fourth term in October.
This year candidates running for mayor in Sooke can spend up to $13,957, while councillors are entitled to $6,978.50. Sooke School trustee candidates can spend from $8,791.92 to $20,977.80, depending on their area.
The new rules won’t affect Sooke council candidates, whose campaigns spent well within those limits in the 2014 campaign, but that wasn’t the case for Mayor Maja Tait, who spent $23,725 to get elected.
“I appreciate the difficulty in amending the rules,” Hicks wrote in his letter to Robinson, “but I hope you will consider making the election spending limits the same for mayors and regional directors across the province.”
Municipal Affairs Ministry officials were unavailable for comment.
The municipal election is Oct. 20.