Candidates in Calgary's next election already registering

With the 2015 federal and provincial elections behind us, political watchers can turn their gaze to the next vote: Calgary's 2017 municipal election. Candidates are already registering so they can raise money for campaigns.

Voting day might be almost 2 years away, but candidates are already raising cash

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Ward 11 councillor Brian Pincott are the only two incumbents who haven't registered as candidates for the 2017 municipal election. (CBC)

Now that the federal and provincial elections are in the rear-view mirror — with each vote resulting in a majority government — political watchers in Calgary can turn their attention to the next big campaign.

Don't get too excited though, because the Calgary municipal election is still a little ways off: October 16, 2017.

A quick check of the City's election candidate registry, however, shows 13 of the 15 current city council members are already preparing for that campaign.

Registering means councillors can start raising money for re-election bids. Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Ward 11's Brian Pincott are the only incumbents who have not submitted paperwork.

Not too much should be read into Nenshi's absence from the list when so many of his colleagues have already submitted papers.

The mayor has said that he doesn't support municipal candidates raising money more than one year in advance of election day. He has also argued for tighter limits on donations, but that decision rests with the provincial government.

All about the money

Registering early can be a key part of any campaign-finance strategy under current rules. After all, money is the lifeblood of any political campaign.

The Local Authorities Election Act limits donations from any person, corporation or union to $5,000 a year per candidate, so the earlier a candidate registers means that much more potential money from any individual person, corporation or union.

Early registrants could raise up to $20,000 from a single well-heeled/generous contributor if they sign up early enough.

Registering also requires candidates to open a bank account, issue receipts and file disclosure statements.

Questions remain

The fun part of registering is that prospective candidates don't have to say what position they plan on seeking.

Andre Chabot of Ward 10 has announced plans to run for mayor, but beyond that the details are a bit hazy — while he's told others he intends to run for mayor in 2017, he told CBC News that he will run for the top job in either 2017 or 2021.

Only two people who are not currently members of city council have registered: Shawn Hiron and Kevin Taylor.

Taylor ran unsuccessfully in Ward 7 in 2010 and 2013. Evidently, he's keeping his options open for 2017 by registering early.


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