Infographic: New Westminster 2008 election campaign financing

The Vancouver Sun released a Metro Vancouver-wide database Friday that reveals campaign donors for mayors and councillors in the 2008 election. While the information has been available online for some time, obtaining it has been a bit of an ad-hoc affair, with each municipality handling the data differently and often publishing it in PDF form instead of a searchable database.

Today, we present New Westminster’s campaign donor information to you in an infographic, courtesy of Matthew Laird, who was a candidate in the 2008 election.

Infographic illustrating New Westminster campaign financing in the 2008 election campaign. House shapes are individual donors, circles are corporate donors, and triangles are union donors.  Line thickness indicates donation amount.  Due to complexities of how the finances flowed transfers between Voice and Voice candidates are NOT represented, only donations to either Voice or Voice candidates from whomever the donor was. Illustration: Matthew Laird.
Infographic illustrating New Westminster campaign financing in the 2008 election campaign. House shapes are individual donors, circles are corporate donors, and triangles are union donors. Line thickness indicates donation amount. Due to complexities of how the finances flowed transfers between Voice and Voice candidates are NOT represented, only donations to either Voice or Voice candidates from whomever the donor was. Illustration: Matthew Laird. Click to enlarge.

If this sort of thing interests you, you may want to check out Theresa McManus’s March 2009 blog post revealing some of the more unusual expenses and financial relationships that came to light in the 2008 election disclosure documentation.

The New Westminster 2008 election campaign financing information is also¬†on the city’s website, organized by candidate.

On anonymity

I was just re-reading an post on the Burnaby Politics blog about a rumour that former Conservative MP Paul Forseth could return to politics in the Burnaby-New Westminster riding currently held by Peter Julian. As a resident of this riding, I am mildly interested, though at the moment it is nothing but a rumour. This blog post is not about the rumour, however. It’s about the reader response: thirteen comments on the post, all anonymous.

I struggle with this on Tenth to the Fraser. We have our own semi-regular commenters who choose to remain anonymous. I like to hear from them, but I wish they would leave a name or a handle with their comments. I’m sure there are valid reasons why people would choose to be anonymous, but I confess my knee-jerk reaction is to assume either cowardice or axe-grinding.

Now, before you flame me (anonymously) in the comments section, this is nothing personal against any of our anonymous commenters (or any on Burnaby Politics). I just feel the level of dialogue on a public forum is better when people are willing to stand behind their comments. Using your real name is best, in my view, because it forces a person to consider the effects on reputation when they post a comment. A nickname is acceptable if it’s how you are known online. Given the option to use a nickname, I just don’t understand choosing to be “Anonymous.”

I’m not planning to prevent anonymous comments at this point, unless such comments turn hateful. While they are sometimes stinging, so far I haven’t felt they have crossed the line. Or at least, not too far past. But I would like to express my preference that commenters here include their name or nickname.

We aspire on this blog to represent a variety of voices and opinions in New Westminster, so we especially value the contributions of those readers who respectfully disagree. Thank you, all of you who have shared your opinions with us. Perhaps some of you will consider sharing your opinions in a guest post in the new year – assuming, of course, that you are willing to sign your name to it.