SKEENA – BULKLEY riding voters may not have much of a chance to see or hear Green candidate Roger Benham or read any party literature.
Speaking from his rural Smithers home this week, Benham says he has no money to print pamphlets, buy advertising or even travel to portions of the riding.
“I really have no idea how I will be doing any of this,” said Benham in referring to the challenges of mounting a political campaign.
Benham’s $1,000 candidate deposit, required by Elections Canada in order to run and which will be reimbursed provided certain forms are filled out at the end of the campaign, is being covered by the Green Party. But it is offering up no other monetary help.
A veteran of the 2000 and 2004 federal elections and the 2008 provincial election, Benham said he doesn’t have an office nor access to the internet to build an online presence.
“I’m retired now and so I don’t have an income as such,” Benham added.
He recalled that in 2000, he put up the $1,000 candidate deposit himself and then lost it because of a paperwork foul up.
“There are, I believe, 145 members of the Green party here and we did try to organize into an electoral district association, but this is such a huge riding,” Benham continued.
He did have the help of someone who built a website for the 2004 campaign but that person kept the password and Benham had no way to change its contents.
Benham said his situation and that of other candidates from smaller parties stands in contrast to the amount of money raised by mainstream candidates.
“There is really something wrong with the system,” he said.
“I’d love to se a very different way of doing things. We should be able to stand for election on an equal footing,” Benham added.
“The fact is right now we have the larger parties spending millions. Millions being spent by wealthy people to get people who are sympathetic to wealthy people elected,” the candidate added.
Candidates running for federal office can have campaign expenses reimbursed from the federal government but that’s only if they receive at least 10 per cent of the vote.