Elections and Fundraising

I recently saw a post online basically maligning contributions given to municipal candidates. The post asked for the person considering donating to ask what impact their contribution would have on the community. Specifically whether a donation to a local charity would have more impact than to a politician. The answer is that they both have an impact but in different ways.

Donating to a charity has a direct impact for the charity and the services they do or can provide. Donating to a candidate has another important role; it helps ensure the health of our democracy. Not all candidates have deep pockets, and stigmatizing asking for donations deters quality candidates from entering the race. I, for example, do not have unlimited funds and, without generous folks contributing to my campaign, would need to dig into my savings to run any campaign whatsoever.

Our communities deserve to have a diverse group representing us. If our city council is comprised solely of well-to-do individuals who do not require any support, then we are limiting and silencing the very voices we need to hear. Too many are silenced for reasons unrelated to finances.

The post referred to those accepting donations as being “paid for.” This accusation, that accepting donations is a tit-for-tat operation, is insulting and inflammatory. This is a sad way to look at the world; thinking that everybody you help now owes you something.

He also insinuates that the acceptance of a donation is a weakness and an indication that the candidate will be unfit to use tax dollars adequately. To the contrary, reaching out and finding sources to help fund a project – in this case, an electoral run – is an indication that the candidate is using skills, resources, and their network to achieve a goal.

I am not a fan of the role money plays in our society or how it creates inequalities throughout our communities. But I am a firm believer that money should not prevent people from participating within our community. Charities exist for that exact purpose. And providing political donations does the same – they allow people to run for office, run a campaign, and to ensure that everyone can participate in a meaningful way in the democratic process.

This is an awkward place to do this, but if you are willing, able, and live in Morden, MB, would you consider contributing to my campaign?