Pundits Guide posted a comparison of all the party leaders' riding campaign spending.
Analysis in the post included this:
The surprise for me was Green Party Leader Elizabeth May's return, inasmuch as ... for all the effort that was reportedly going in to getting her a seat in the Commons ... her campaign spent only 69% of the limit, in spite of having $80K (nearly the full amount of the spending limit) transferred to the campaign by the central party office, and of raising more than the other 3 party leaders during the campaign itself. Doing a quick eyeball comparison of her return to Layton's and Duceppe's, her campaign reported significantly less on salary costs than the other two.
And here is a comment I posted in that blog:
The May campaign had more than "significantly less" salaries than the other leaders' campaigns.
And volunteers cannot replace staff functions for management and coordination. The more volunteers a campaign has, the more bang for buck. BUT, those volunteers MUST be coordinated by a staff of people with more than full time hours, and a minimum of previous campaign experience.
The Central Nova Green campaign was a full bore organization. That requires a number of full time campaign staff, some of whom could have minimal experience. But the Campaign Manager and at least one more would have to have a fair bit of experience.
Occassionally one of those people can be a volunteer. But Elections Canada reporting rules are VERY unequivocal that if a person has a paid job, whoever is paying the salary, the campaign has to report it as an expense. The only exception allowed is when the person takes a vacation- out of their normal entitlements [no fig leaf 'special paid 'vacations' allowed].
How likely is it that all the full time staffing in that serious campaign were real volunteers?
They reported TOTAL salaries of $2,800. !?! For a campaign like that, about $20,000 would be the norm.
A normal phenomena in minimal campaigns a party wants to see some results in is to send in a Campaign Manager [bare minimum $3500]. But they don't run campaigns a fraction of what was done in Central Nova.
The May campaign reported 4 people who got under $1,000- the kind of amounts that go as honorariums to people who put in a lot of time but come without previous experience. [And sometimes an amount like that to an Office Manager in a low rent campaign, which this was not.]