Scott Armstrong is greeted by many supporters after winning the federal byelection in Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley.
TRURO – Raising the most private money during the writ period did not guarantee electoral success in the last federal election in central and northern Nova Scotia.
Figures released by Elections Canada show Christian Heritage Party Leader Jim Hnatiuk raised $36,301.19 from 151 people for the Nov. 9, 2009 byelection. Hnatiuk finished a distant fourth garnering 778 votes or 3.2 per cent of the total votes. The Enfield resident said while he would have liked more votes, the party made gains made during the campaign.
“We were basically unknown, a brand new party that walked in and ran,” he said, noting the party had not run a candidate in the riding since 1993. “We now have a very solid base in Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley, so we’re really happy with that.”
Hnatiuk said because of its level of financing, “we felt the other parties were following our lead during the campaign.”
As a national leader Hnatiuk received financial support from across the country and had volunteers come in from Ontario and British Columbia.
Conservative Scott Armstrong won the election with 45.8 per cent of the votes. He raised the second highest amount of private money during the campaign with $23,800 from the 124 contributors.
“The people that vote are still the local people in the riding,” Armstrong said.
“An election is 36 days long and you have to really work a lot more than that if you’re going to be elected.
“It doesn’t matter how much money you spend in 36 days if you don’t do the work before hand, in getting out and meeting the people and raise your profile and contribute to the riding socially, economically and as a volunteer.”
Armstrong noted the figures do not count the money that was raised before the byelection was called.
“We’d raised a significant amount of money before the writ was dropped,” he said.
Armstrong and his riding association raised money since he won the nomination for the party in April, including a dinner with Senator Mike Duffy. The money went to the riding association and was transferred during the election campaign.
Armstrong did spend the most money during the campaign at $85,124.62, just under the maximum of $86,349.60. It included $50,200 in transfers, including $45,000 from the Cumberland Colchester Musquodoboit Valley Conservative Riding Association.
Money not spent during the campaign is returned to the riding association.
Armstrong said with a minority government that was elected in 2008, he suspects an election in the next 12 months. He said his association is already fundraising in advance of an election call.
With changes to limit how much corporations, unions and individuals can donate, Armstrong said all parties are constantly fundraising for elections.