Posted: December 2nd, 2013
Media Analysis Article
Media Analysis Article
The just concluded Halifax Municipal elections have been a cause of speculation. This is especially because of the scandal that arose when the members of the public realized that one of the candidates collected a large stipend from the donations given to his campaign. Mike Savage, the candidate in question has faced a lot of criticism because of his act. Mike defended himself by stating that he was the sole breadwinner for his family and having quit his job from the private sector in order to focus on his campaign, he had no source of income. For this reason, he collected a stipend of $ 30, 000 from donations made for his campaign. The stipend was to support him and his family over the three-month campaign period. People from the county have had various reactions to this discovery, some positive while others have criticized him greatly.
The article that will be analyzed was from the Chronicle Herald. The author of the article has explained the matter in detail and has provided the opinions of the people who supported this act and those of the strong opposers. She has particularly sought the opinion of experts in the field of community development to provide their view on Savage’s stipend collection. Municipal elections cannot be compared in glamour to the elections of members of higher offices. For this reason, it is not expected that the municipal campaigns obtain huge donations for their campaigns. However, this took place in Halifax since the candidate Mike Savage managed to obtain over $ 350, 000 for his campaign as well as $10, 000 monthly stipends for the three months of the campaign. This created a lot of controversy because the transparency of the whole campaign was put in question.
Experts have stated that Mike’s actions are unacceptable but he is not entirely to blame. This is because the laws that govern campaign funding are very lax. The said laws have no specific regulations that should regulate the use of the funds that candidates obtain for their campaigns (OECD, 2008). If such laws existed, such situations like Mike’s will be evaded. In addition to this, the citizens of the said area will know how their donations were used in the campaign. Transparency of this nature will be very beneficial to the campaign of the candidate in question since it will boost the people’s support for him or her. Inclusion of the experts’ opinions pertaining to this matter is very remarkable. This is because the readers are able to find out their views, which are not always readily available to them.
Additionally, the issues of accountability as well as transparency in management of the campaign funds are raised. It is imperative for the good willed contributors to have assurance of monitored and responsible spending of the funds they give in belief they are pursuing a mentioned cause (Brown & Hannis, 2008). Accountability and transparency enables the citizens of the area in question to believe in their leaders more which ultimately leads to better relationships between them. Participation in community programs is also improved if the leader is accountable. Citizens will be more willing to participate in such programs since they are sure that the money they contribute for instance will be put to good use. The importance of laws requiring transparency and access to spending budgets by contributors cannot be undermined in respect to this situation. Community development is enhanced when funds meant to pursue certain development goals whether politically or in leaderships are appropriated correctly.
With regard to the Mike Savage situation, the release of his budget would have alleviated all the problems that he faced because of acquiring his stipend. The article also contains the opinion of another prominent expert, Urbaniak. He states that Mike’s actions are lawful since nothing in the Municipal Government Act or the Municipal Elections Act prevents a candidate to obtain a salary from his or her campaign funds (Mowbray, 2000). However, Urbaniak unlike his fellow experts believes that it is fine if the candidate obtains a stipend granted that the citizens are aware of it. According to him, this is why Mike’s actions have been so controversial. If he told, the citizens of Halifax that he intended to obtain a stipend and the reasons why, it is very probable that there would have been no opposition. Urbaniak suggests that if a law is implemented, it should allow the candidate in question to disclose if the spending of the donations they receive to encourage transparency and to avoid a debate as the one that ensued due to Mike’s salary.
Such a suggestion is very important because the candidates will be able to explain the reasons why they require salaries. They would therefore acquire the salary from the donations given to them freely without any criticism. In addition to this, they will lead comfortable lives and will not put their family through uneasiness during the campaign period. The inclusion of a person in support of the actions of Mike Savage was very critical for the article to be balanced. This is because if it dwelt more on the people who were opposing the matter, it would be biased. Bias would make it a very unreliable source of information. For this reason, Urbaniak’s opinion being included in the article makes it outstanding.
The author of the article has incorporated Mike Savage’s reasons why he took the stipend. Savage defended himself by saying that he needed the stipend since he was the family’s sole breadwinner. In addition to this, he had resigned from his job in the private sector and had no source of income. Allegations have been hurled against him that he refused to release his campaign budget because he intended to hide the stipend from the public. In response to this, he has said that he would release the budget of the whole budget to prove that his campaign was conducted transparently. Having included Mike’s reasons why he took the stipend was very important to ensure that the article was accurate and unbiased. In this case, Mike Savage was given a chance to defend himself against the accusations.
The article in question is in line with the concepts and themes that are taught in community development. First, it covers the transparency of the leaders elected to public positions. The course explains that every leader who is elected to such positions should exercise transparency in all the matter that he or she conducts (Henderson, 2004). This is very important because they will instill a sense of dependability on the citizens that they serve. In addition to this, the citizens in question will be supportive of the leader and will participate more in community development programs. Another important concept that this article is related to is that all the citizens should understand how the laws and policies in the said area are created and implemented (Tesoriero, 2010). This concept has been applied in this article since Mike Savage‘s act was lawful. This is because none of the laws in the municipality deterred any candidate from obtaining a salary from his campaign donations. With this knowledge, one is able to understand why Mike was not charged for his actions
The Halifax Municipality election has been under a lot of speculation from other municipalities and even some countries. Mike’s actions have been greatly condemned and he has been criticized strongly. However, it is important to understand that he has a very viable reason why he needed the stipend. For this reason, his only mistake should be that he kept the matter a secret. This made his actions and character very questionable to the members of the public. Community development is a very important course as it enables the students to analyze the social matters from a different point of view as well as to understand the reasons behind several thing s that happen at the community level.
Brown, J. & Hannis, D. (2008). Community development in Canada. Toronto: Pearson Allyn and Bacon.
Henderson, Ailsa. (2004). Regional Political Cultures in Canada, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 37, (3), pg. 595-615.
Mowbray, M. (2000). Community Development Journal Special Issue: Community Development in Canada, Community Development Journal, 35, (2) pg. 306-309.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2008). DAC Peer Review of Canada. Journal on Development, 8, (4) 263-387.
Tesoriero, F. (2010). Community Development: Community-based alternatives in an age of globalization. Frenchs Forest, NWS, Australia: Pearson.
You can obtain the article used from the following link: http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/163090-municipal-election-campaign-funding-laws-too-lax-experts-say
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