Does the PC Party have a revenue problem?

Does Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party have a “revenue problem?” According to reports from the Calgary Herald, that is how PC Party president Jim McCormick described his party’s financial situation in an email to party officials. The PC Party recently backed down from a plan its board of directors approved for the party to take a 10% levy on contributions donated to its 87 constituency associations.

The PC Party has trailed the official opposition Wildrose Party in donations in the first three quarters of 2013. Most significantly, the four decade long governing PC Party significantly trails the Wildrose in individual donations by more than $780,000 so far in 2013.

Although Premier Alison Redford is expected to successfully face her mandated leadership review at next weekend’s PC Party convention in Red Deer, she still must account for her party’s dipping financial fortunes. At the end of 2012, the PC Party reported a $594,951 deficit in their  Elections Alberta financial disclosure. To understand how much the PC Party’s financial health has changed, it reported a $2,889,972 surplus in 2004.

While the PC Party may be feeling a financial crunch, some of that party’s constituency associations continue to raise considerable amounts of funds. In the 2012 election, more than a few PC candidate campaigns raised more than $100,000 at the constituency level.

After Danielle Smith became leader of the Wildrose Party in 2010, that party has seen a significant rise in financial support, especially in the form of smaller individual donations cultivated from an engaged base of supporters. The Wildrose Party continues rival the PC Party in revenue in 2013, something no political party has done in Alberta in decades.

Below are charts showing the donations to Alberta’s four main political parties since 2004. Before recent legislative changes, donations were reported to Elections Alberta above and below $375. They are now reported below and above $250. Maximum donations during annual periods are limited to $15,000 and $30,000 during election periods.

Alberta Progressive Conservative donations 2004-2013
Alberta Progressive Conservative donations from 2004 to the third quarter of 2013.
Wildrose Party donations 2004-2013
Wildrose Party donations from 2004 to the third quarter of 2013. Includes the Alberta Alliance and Wildrose Alliance.

The drop in donations to the Liberal Party appears to coincide with the rise of the Wildrose Party and the departure of Kevin Taft as party leader following the 2008 election. The Liberals have succeeded in paying off a large amount of debt incurred in previous elections, but have most recently struggled to fund party operations after only raising $50,539 in the third quarter of 2013.

The New Democrats continue to enjoy a healthy base of individual donors and a relatively healthy flow of larger donations, though the NDP continues to hold a significant debt and reported $707,524 in total liabilities in 2012.

Alberta Liberal Party Donations 2004-2013
Alberta Liberal Party donations from 2004 to the third quarter of 2013
Alberta NDP donations 2004-2013
Alberta NDP donations from 2004 to the third quarter of 2013

5 thoughts on “Does the PC Party have a revenue problem?”

  1. Interesting numbers. It appears that Liberalberta, or whatever they are calling themselves, is well and truly dead. The quality of the opposition is much improved of late. Having the government held to account from both the right (WRP) and left (NDP) seems to be working better than the old days when Ralph & co could dismiss all the opposition as commie pinkos.

  2. Hey Neal, I call BS on you. If you know how to read a chart, the Liberal beta has already bottomed out and we’ll surpassed the previous years financing…..pay close attention to the Red Dot on the chart. THE Wild rose are going to pickup at least. 5 to 10 more ridings next election and Liberals would have had 8 MLA’s, again, except the three new Liberal contestants last election had no past electoral experience, hence 5 seats instead of 8. Liberals and Wildrose will be on the rise. With Liberals moving right and WR moving left, Tories are going to experience an irreversible trend of losing seats.

  3. Hey Neal, I call BS on you. If you know how to read a chart, the Liberal beta has already bottomed out and we’ll surpassed the previous years financing…..pay close attention to the Red Dot on the chart. THE Wild rose are going to pickup at least. 5 to 10 more ridings next election and Liberals would have had 8 MLA’s, again, except the three new Liberal contestants last election had no past electoral experience, hence 5 seats instead of 8. Liberals and Wildrose will be on the rise. With Liberals moving right and WR moving left, Tories are going to experience an irreversible trend of losing seats. Nd’s are trending down.

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