The Liberals and the NDP poured almost $540,000 into campaigns in North Shore ridings for the May provincial election.
Overall, the Liberals spent more money campaigning in the four local ridings: approximately $319,000 during both the month-long election campaign and the two month lead-up, compared to $184,000 for the NDP during the same time frame.
But the NDP spent some serious cash in the two North Vancouver ridings the party considered winnable - North Vancouver-Lonsdale and North Vancouver-Seymour - only to lose in both of them.
In North Vancouver-Lonsdale, considered the closest political race on the North Shore, NDP candidate Craig Keating's campaign spent $96,700 - $31,000 more than was spent by Naomi Yamamoto's winning Liberal campaign.
Liberal MLA Jane Thornthwaite's campaign spent $103,000 over three months in North Vancouver Seymour to win back her seat - the most spent by any local candidate during the campaign and pre-campaign period subject to Elections B.C. limits.
Jim Hanson, the NDP candidate in that riding, spent $63,000 during the same time period.
David Schreck, a former NDP MLA and North Vancouver political commentator, said the money spent by the NDP was significantly more this time around than it was in previous election campaigns in North Shore ridings.
"In past elections in Seymour, it was a bare bones campaign, with hardly anything being spent," he said. "It was really a full-fledged campaign this time around."
"In the two ridings which were judged possible wins, lots of money was spent by the NDP and they still lost."
Schreck said it's an important reminder for political parties, "It's not just how much you spend but how you conduct the campaign."
One notable difference between Liberal and NDP campaigns on the North Shore is that the Liberals reported spending more on research and polling.
Yamamoto's campaign reported spending more than $14,000 on research and polling compared to $6,000 spent by Keating's campaign.
Even more was spent by other local Liberal campaigns. Both Thornthwaite's campaign in North Vancouver-Seymour and Ralph Sultan's Liberal campaign in West Vancouver-Capilano spent almost $19,000 over a three-month period on research and polling.
Jordan Sturdy - the Liberal candidate who won the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding over the NDP's Anna Santos - spent $22,000 on research and polling, almost twice what Santos spent on her entire campaign.
Schreck said there was a similar pattern in the central party campaigns, where the Liberals spent about $180,000 more than the NDP on research and polling.
"The difference in the $180,000 is seen in the results," he said.
Keating and Hanson, meanwhile, collectively spent $80,000 on salaries for NDP campaign workers.
Besides highlighting the differences in how the parties spent money, Schreck said the election finance reports released recently by Elections B.C. make for sobering reading for third parties and independent candidates.
Most winning candidates spent anywhere from $60,000 to $90,000 on their campaigns, he said.
That was certainly true on the North Shore. Even in the two West Vancouver ridings - largely considered safe Liberal seats - Sultan's campaign spent more than $71,000 while Sturdy's spent about $78,000. That compared to about $12,000 spent by the NDP in each of those ridings.
For smaller political players, it's very hard to raise the kind of money needed to run a serious campaign, Schreck said. "As long as spending limits are as high as they are, it freezes out the third parties and the independents."
Among smaller parties on the North Shore, Conservative candidates Brian Wilson and David Jones spent $8,100 and $9,7000 respectively on election expenses Richard Warrington of the Green Party spent $3,800 while independent candidates Michael Marwick and Jamie Webbe spent $8,200 and $3,400 respectively.
According to the election finance reports, both NDP and Liberal candidates funded the lion's share of their campaigns with transfers from party headquarters.
Yamamoto also received $18,000 in campaign donations from corporations, including Jacob Bros., Seaspan, Western Stevedoring, the Holiday Inn, Neptune Terminals and North Shore Studios.
Keating's campaign received $19,000 from unions.
Sultan's campaign received $5,000 from Park Royal Shopping Centre. Sultan also donated $5,000 left over from his campaign to Premier Christy Clark's by-election campaign in Kelowna.
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