Mouvement Lavallois has more than $129,000 saved for election
Martin C. Barry
The Mouvement Lavallois, the party led by Mayor Marc Demers which currently dominates Laval city council, is entering the final stretch before the next municipal election with a record 5,600 signed-up members and a campaign war chest containing more than $129,000.
Funding on a per-vote basis
While the ML is aiming to have as much as $250,000 on hand before the Nov. 5 election, it will be the first time a municipal election takes place in Laval with new rules for political party fundraising since the provincial government brought in changes.
One of the new regulations, which is aimed at levelling the playing field for all parties while discouraging corrupt fundraising practices like those of the former Vaillancourt administration, will see Laval’s municipal parties allotted funding by the city based on the number of votes won in the election.
“They [the government] chose that way to assure that political parties don’t have to rely so much on private donations,” Demers said in an interview with the Laval News on June 11 during a break at the ML’s annual general meeting at Collège Letendre. It was attended by around 120 members.
Fundraising rules changing
Noting that moves to change political fundraising rules started as far back as when René Lévesque was Quebec’s Premier, but accelerated with recommendations made by the federal Gomery Commission into the Liberal Sponsorship Scandal, Demers said the current Quebec government followed suit last year with its own political fundraising revisions.
“In Laval, political parties will get about 60 cents every year per vote they get in the election,” said Demers, adding that those rules are now in effect, although the ML will only be declaring that source of revenue at its next annual general meeting.
“It’s not in our report because our report is for last year when we didn’t get anything. But that will be a major change.” According to Demers, most of the ML’s current treasury is being saved for the 2017 election campaign. Although the ML has no office (unlike the former mayor’s Parti Pro des Lavallois), it has one part-time staffer (Loïc Bouffard-Dumas) working one day a week for the party.
Planning ahead strategically
“We keep our expenses at a minimum to keep the money for the campaign,” the mayor said. He suggested the ML is using a very strategic and planned approach to fundraising. “If you start raising money six months before the campaign, it’s not healthy if I can put it that way.
“Because it’s very tough, you have temptation: people might offer you big amounts,” he continued. “We didn’t want to be there. So we started right after the last election doing financing with suppers and things like that to have money available for the campaign. This started three years ago.”