POLITICS

Campaign spending limits lower in the North than many southern cities

08/06/2015 08:51 EDT | Updated 08/06/2016 05:59 EDT
Elections Canada released spending limits for each federal riding Tuesday.

That's the amount each candidate's campaign can spend between now and election day. The limits for Northern ridings range from $202,000 in Nunavut to over $213,000 in the NWT. Yukon's limit is a little more than $209,000.

But those limits are lower than many urban ridings in the south, even though northern candidates have greater distances to travel. That's because, according to Elections Canada's logic, it simply costs more to reach more voters.

"The theory is that this spending limit accounts for what it would cost to reach out and contact the electors," said Diane Benson, a spokesperson for Elections Canada.

"So of course it's going to be a slightly higher rate in dense urban centres that have a higher population than it would be in a more rural riding where there are fewer electors."

The three territories are much smaller than the average federal riding. The N.W.T. is the largest of the three and has a population of just 41,000.

Candidates in the riding of Labrador, home to fewer than 27,000 souls spread out over an area larger than the United Kingdom, face a similar constraint with a spending limit of $204,000.

By contrast, Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou, the vast riding that covers northern Quebec, has a population of over 85,000. The spending limit there is more than $247,000.

Even still, the limits are more than double those of a typical election, Benson says, because this election campaign is 79 days long, compared to the usual 37 days.