CBC News Federal Election

The Campaign

What An Election Costs

Political change doesn't come cheap in Canada. Aside from the millions raised by political parties to fuel their campaigns, there's the cost of the electoral process and millions in reimbursements to parties and candidates — borne by the taxpayer. Here's a comparison of what Elections Canada spent on the 1997 and 2000 elections:

Election costs
  36th general election – Feb. 6, 1997 37th general election – Nov. 12, 2000
Total cost $200.6 million $199.7 million
Breakdown of expenses

Fees of election officers (returning, enumerators, poll clerks, production staff, etc.) and headquarters staff:
$94.8 million

Design and printing of enumeration and election forms and manuals, ads, publishing:
$30.1 million

Reimbursements to candidates and registered political parties:
$24.5 million

Travel for officers and staff, postage, courier service, phone calls:
$20.7 million

Professional services of consultants, payroll, insurance and auditors:
$15.3 million

Rentals of polling stations, returning offices, equipment, furniture, telecommunications:
$12.2 million

Office supplies, repairs, utilities, accessibility ramps:
$3 million

Operations of local returning offices, including Election Day activities:
$90 million

Pre-election activity, including staff training, maintenance of voter lists and systems readiness:
$50 million

Election delivery activities (public information) at Ottawa office:
$35 million

Reimbursement for candidate election expenses and for registered political parties:
$24.8 million

Elections Canada estimates the cost for the 2004 election will be as much as $265 million — $65 million higher than last time around. Inflation, population growth, the creation of seven new ridings, and increased reimbursements to candidates and payments to parties under new election financing laws are all being blamed for the higher cost.


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