Fundraising numbers expose PC, Wildrose strengths and weaknesses

Alberta Fundraising 2013 2014
The total combined first and second quarter financial disclosures from Alberta’s political parties from 2013 and 2014.

The latest quarterly fundraising disclosures from Alberta’s provincial political parties were released by Elections Alberta this week, and Alberta’s two conservative parties remain the dominant forces in political fundraising. Continuing a trend that has become the norm in Alberta politics, the Wildrose Party has once again raised more money than the long-governing Progressive Conservatives.

Wildrose Party raised $1,572,159.26 in the first two quarters of 2014, slightly down from their  $1,625,290.94 raised during the same period in 2013. The PCs, despite their recent internal turmoil, are claiming $1,406,924.81 raised by the party in the first half of 2014, up from the $1,237,607.50 raised in the same period in 2013.

As the Edmonton Journal’s Graham Thomson wrote in his column yesterday, “[t]he issue here is not that the PCs are bad at raising money, it’s that the Wildrose party is proving particularly good at raising money.”

Not included in these numbers are funds raised at the constituency level, where the Tories raised more than the Wildrose. This should not be a surprise, as the PC Party has 59 MLAs who form the government. That the Wildrose Party has only 17 MLAs and has continues to be successful at party level fundraising remains troubling for the long-governing PCs.

While the Tories continue to show heavy reliance on large corporate donations to fill their coffers, a significant percentage of Wildrose funds come from individual donations in amounts less than $250.00.

The Tories continue to show signs of weakness in constituencies represented by Wildrose MLAs. The Medicine Hat PC Association has not raised any funds since 2012 and the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake Tories claimed $300.00 in the second quarter of 2014, its first revenue since 2012.

Meanwhile, the Wildrose Party appears to be dormant in two important northern constituencies – Fort McMurray-Conklin and Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. According to financial disclosures, the two Wildrose constituency associations have not raised any funds since 2012, when PC-turned-Wildrose MLA Guy Boutilier was unseated by Tory Mike Allen in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo.

Looking at the other parties, the NDP showed positive growth as their fundraising numbers increased by more than $26,000 from last year to $273,214.50 in the first half of 2014. The Liberals continue to be stuck in fourth place in the fundraising department, only raising $181,385.56 in the first half of 2014.

9 thoughts on “Fundraising numbers expose PC, Wildrose strengths and weaknesses”

  1. That the Wildrose numbers are down shows that the public are not happy with their leader, their soft on crime policies released yesterday, or their left-leaning policies like funding criminals through legal aid.

  2. One of the most telling subtexts arising out of these figures involves where the money comes from. As Journal columnist Graham Thomson pointed out (http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/alberta-politics/Thomson+news+Liberals+matter+slice/10036227/story.html), “…the PCs raised most of their money (90 per cent) from large corporate donors while the Wildrose relied mostly (70 per cent) on smaller donations of $250 or less…”. The PCs are in the pockets of big business and the oilpatch, while the Wildrose seem to have more grassroots support.

    On the more progressive side of the spectrum, the Liberals’ smaller donor base also includes a goodly level of big business support, much of it from the utilities and energy sectors, while the NDs have the usual pool of smaller donors and a few unions and labour groups (although some of Alberta’s largest unions are non-partisan and do not make political donations ). This would suggest that the NDP’s grassroots support is much healthier than that of the Liberals.

    Lastly, the Alberta Party only raised a bit more than a quarter of what the hapless Liberals did. They should fold up their tents, bring their energy and enthusiasm, and join another party with more chance of winning.

  3. It would be rather amazing to any outsider that the province’s progressive parties, who have so few differences between them, fight for such a tiny slice of the pie. But, to Albertans, this is business as usual.

  4. I bet the mafia circa 1971 would have loved this system. Do not have to “disclose” donors names under the $250 threshold. A money launderers dream I imagine. Especially since “donors” may not even “know” that they are “donating” under this lax scheme. Lol.

  5. BTW folks…when the economy is hot from a province lush with oil in the ground and high oil prices, coupled with electoral apathy of 40 years…it favors the Tories. When the economy is good..by default the Libs and ND’s are always going to get less donations. The corporations just choose to give way more to the party of their choice…and that is what creates this political perception.

  6. Deam, the thinking in the NDP is that as few active members and donors as they have and as few active constituency associations as they have (probably half are in the latte socialist constituency of Strathcona–certainly half of those in attendance at the provincial conventions I attended in 2008 and 2009 were from there), their eensy-weensy party is no longer as eensy-weensy as the Liberal Party with its absolutely ineffectual leader. Both parties can afford to play games because their members, while not the one percenters who give their money to the big two players, benefit enough from the petro economy to not worry too much about who actually gets to run Alberta. It would require a sense of urgency about poverty or climate change or something else to force these two childishly proud parties to work together (same for the Alberta Party, which by now has demonstrated that it is of no interest to Albertans who are not subscribed members); they don’t feel that at all and will continue to refuse to provide Albertans with a meaningful alternative to choosing between two parties that are extensions of Big Oil.

  7. Alvin, the Tories and WR are heavily funded by the energy companies and those that want friendly policies passed. Those parties are recipients of huge monetary blessings and voters will want to vote for parties that are flashy, well funded and that ‘lhave a venir of appearing to be cpapble, but only because donors feel safer hedging where they know the big money donates. What this does is create an extreme state of disparity, both politically and economically for the other parties. The progressive parties are fighting for scraps because people are voting where the corporate money goes. Voters follow the perception of success and it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Voters in AB, those who care to vote, are mostly happy with things, therefore incumbents are to benefit and progressive parties and their leaders are to remain ineffectual I regard less of their policies, leaders and message, most folks in an overheating hot economy, l are living in the moment, will never be convinced that they are truly acting in their own best self interest in the long run to vote for more balanced and moderate policies esp. with poverty, education, healthcare, env. and global warming. So Alvin, its convenient for some to blame the progressive parties and their leaders, how are they supposed to convince ‘avg’ or ‘normal’ Albertans to have a social conscience or be more concerned about the earth? Did you ever think most people are too happy to care or to be thoughtful, did you ever take a pause to think progressive parties can’t change the mind of most Albertans who are in the hyperexcitied me, me, state. Don’t get me wrong, we should always be grateful for the blessings Alberta gives us, whether we get them by choice or by acclamation, whether we are right or left wing. But how do you convince normal people to balance all that out with a social conscience?…that in the long run if we choose a moderate, balanced path, that we are truly acting in our best self interest. Those eenie weenie progressive parties…will you please guide them how to convince regular folks who are having a good time in a hot economy, how to have a long term social concience towards poverty and global warming? Maybe you have some wisdom the Libs, ND’s , AP and Greens don’t. Until you have come up with an idea on how to convince ordinary folks to have a thoughtful, social conscience, its unfair of you to blame the eenie weenie parties and their leaders of being ineffective. Your frustration is well founded, Alvin and if the oil drops to $50/bbl…you might be the new political genius, Alberta needs.

  8. Thanks “Bless the Dinosaurs.” It is obviously an uphill battle for the progressive parties to try to upend the corporate-funded parties whose motto seems to be “what’s good for billionaires is good for all Albertans.” But do remember that in the 2004 and 2008 elections, two in five Albertans voted for parties with policies well to the left of the dinosaur ruling party and the fledgling Wildrose variant of the dinosaur. In a survey conducted by Leger for the Alberta Democratic Renewal Project in 2010, 48 percent of those polled indicated that they would vote for a candidate backed by all four progressive parties in their riding. Would that actually happen on election day? Probably not if the price of oil is high that day. But fewer than 40 percent of those polled were planning to vote for any of the centre-left parties if there was no cooperation among them, and in the end, only one voter in five voted for a progressive party in 2012. As you say, people do not want to vote for also-rans. A single progressive coalition in Alberta would not look like a sure loser in the way that the current parties of the centre-left working separately and sniping at each other about trivia look. Yes, these parties will do better if the price of oil has dipped and jobs are in peril; and that situation may partly explain the willingness of many voters to opt for a progressive coalition in 2010. But note that even then there was far more receptivity to such a coalition than to voting for small, loser parties.

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