Alberta Politics

Wildrose raised big cash in 2012, Tories fell behind.

Falling behind in fundraising, Premier Alison Redford and MLAs Peter Sandhu and Steven Young count their pennies.
Falling behind in fundraising, Premier Alison Redford and MLAs Peter Sandhu and Steven Young count their pennies.

Unofficial political donation records published by Elections Alberta yesterday show that Premier Alison Redford‘s Progressive Conservative Association is not in the robust financial situation its leaders are accustomed to over the past four-decades in office.

At least not in 2012, when the Tory Party was eclipsed by its main rival in fundraising amounts.

Danielle Smith Wildrose Party Alberta Election 2012
Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith‘s Wildrose Party smashed political fundraising records in 2012, raising an incredible $5,916,565 over the course of the year. Contributing to the $5 million figure was $3,122,670 of revenue reported from the 2012 election and $2,793,895 raised outside the campaign period. In their non-campaign period, the Wildrose Party recorded a $175,133 deficit and $405,361 in net assets.

While the Wildrose Party attracted large donations from medium-sized oil and pipeline equipment companies, the large majority of that party’s donations came from individual donors. This trend suggests the Wildrose has harnessed a fundraising machine similar to the Conservative Party of Canada. With close ties to the federal party, it is no surprise that the Wildrose has chosen to mimic this successful fundraising goal.

Premier Alison Redford
Premier Alison Redford

The Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper were the first federal political party in recent history to succeed in effectively cultivating a large base of individual donors to fund their political operations. This energized base of individual donors helped free the Tories from having to depend on the large corporate donations that for decades fuelled the Liberal Party of Canada.

The test for the Wildrose Party will be whether they can sustain this level of fundraising in the years between election periods.

Meanwhile, Alberta’s PC Party reported a $3,055,621 deficit after last year’s election that had been whittled down to $794,767 in liabilities at the end of 2012. Relying heavily on corporate donations, the Tories raised $1,607,581 during the 2012 election and $2,331,592 in the non-campaign period.

Manmeet Bhullar
Manmeet Bhullar

The Tory fundraising numbers from the 2012 election are lower than expected and are somewhat misleading as many Tory candidates raised astonishing amounts of funds on their own accord. For example, Calgary-Greenway Tory Manmeet Bhullar‘s campaign spent $133,294, Fort McMurray-Conklin Tory Don Scott‘s campaign spent $110,955.44, Edmonton-Whitemud Tory cabinet minister Dave Hancock‘s campaign spent $121,233.35, and Calgary-West Tory candidate Ken Hughes‘ campaign spent $111,796.33.

Despite the old saying that Alberta’s PCs strived to always have enough money in their coffers to run two back-to-back election campaigns, the party is struggling with a smaller donor base and growing debt wracked up in last year’s election.

Brian Mason‘s New Democrats reported impressive revenue of $1,380,659 outside the campaign period in 2012, but remain strapped with a $554,883 debt from previous election campaigns. Raj Sherman‘s Liberals reported $478,795 in revenue in the non-election period and a $30,015 surplus in funds at the end of 2012.

12 replies on “Wildrose raised big cash in 2012, Tories fell behind.”

Good Article Dave. It looks like Liberals spent the least per seat and per vote. Sounds like they have a case to say that they are efficient spenders and are able to maintain a budget. Its It looks like ND’s had almost 3.5x the revenue that ABLibs had and still the ND’s got less seats, despite all that money and Federal ND handholding and coddling.

Its fair to say then, while ND’s had donations from Unions and WR and PC got its donations from Corporations, it seems the Alberta Liberals have made very respectable show of personal donations from real Albertans. The ND’s have peaked in Alberta, the Tories have mislead and lied to almost everybody and campaigned on a fake budget with billions in deficit, the Wildrose had politically contentious candidates, who WR leader did not remove quick enough. Liberals appear to be strong financial managers and that is a huge plus.

In all seriousness, is this the first time that we have had actual evidence that the ALP debt has been repaid? The Betkowski debt?

Change Alberta,

So the Liberals raise less than any other party in the Legislature, and only 29% of what they raised in the last election year (over $2million in 2008) and they are on the move?

Bad, bad, spin Jonathon.

Hey Art, its hard for some haters like you to see value. Liberals DID NOT have the huge corporate help. The media fueled Lakes of Fire Hysteria, stole the election from the WR, decimated the Alberta Party before it even had a chance and the Liberals took a direct hit, but still got 5 seats.

They had only a new leader for barely even a year. How is a new leader supposed to raise millions of dollars that quickly, it would have been monumentally inhuman to be able to do that in such a short time. Esp. at a time, when other leadership candidates were airing dirty laundry on an almost daily basis.

The ordinary and uninformed, lost their marbles to thwart the Wildrose boogeyman. Like Dominoes, they piled on and hedged their bets AGAINST the Wildrose and the Tories benefitted by default.

Most voters don’t care to be considerate and think carefully, nor do they care to use their memory of how the Tories have screwed Albertans and saved NOT ONE PENNY. That is unfortunate, people need to start thinking again, even if for a few minutes to place a vote more thoughtfully.

The Tories can afford at election time to be everything to everybody, because they have huge corporate donors that use the Tory Party to further their own financial agendas. Edmonton Media, is lazy and compliant and even biased, perhaps because much of their revenue depends on the Public Affairs Bureau, (also jokingly known as the Tass News Agency). Most people believe what they read and see, once they see it thousands of times over and over. A misleading spin told in Edmonton Papers over and over again, becomes believed. The same trick is used in repressive regimes all over the world, yes it is.

Esp. Academia, those so-called political scientists and health law ethicists that wish to secure Tory funding for their institutions, during the entire election, they spewed some of the most biased garbage, one-sided reporting and journalism that would make the Cruelest of Dictators Green with Envy.

Democracy is extremely weak here in AB. Checks and balances of healthy democracy are almost non-existent. The Tories control almost every political committee and veto anything that calls for more transparency.

Its sad that some of you ascribe to two right wing parties running this place and what is even worse, almost nobody here, is asking for accountabilty or any checks and balances, its truly shocking. BC and Ontario Liberals never had to put up with such a deeply entrenched and willingly daft population and such a biased media.

You want to see good media coverage, just goto any of the other province’s legislatures. Heck even Australians, use their grey matter to question those in office and the bureacracy. You will see them asking sledgehammer questions and keeping politicians, esp those in office, accountable and answerable, at all times.

Sorry but, some of you or none of you believe in accountable governance, checks and balances and democracy.

Its absolutely deplorable, and stupid to criticize any party that has always stuck up for the average middle class citizens and that has moderate, sensible policies.

Go move to China, if you really love dictators and don’t want any checks and balances, accountability or transparency.

Its time the centrists and progressives unite under the Liberals and change things this time. So much can be accomplished under this flag. YES it can.

40 yrs folks, this place is in dire need of some turnover, don’t you think?

Dave – is the PC party trust fund “off the books” or does it get included in their reported assets?

As I recall, the PCAA party got demolished in fundraising in the election, but their CAs had a far more respectable showing relatively. It wouldn’t surprise me if they reported some high CA fundraising figures when those come out.

Also, does anybody know the exact size of the TAPCAL party trust fund?

@Change Alberta, it is misleading to say “while the NDs got donations from unions…”, when in fact the NDP also got a lot of money from individuals. Yes, union donations were a significant portion of NDP contributions, the campaign & annual disclosures shown on the Elections Alberta website (BTW Dave, your link is broken; it should be show dozens of individual donors over the $375 disclosure threshold.

Have I gone through and added up the total amounts from individuals vs unions and labour groups? No. That would be tedious & time-consuming, and I’m surprised the disclosure forms don’t already have those totals (it would be one quick spreadsheet cell on the original documents). But just a cursory inspection reveals that saying the NDP is funded by unions doesn’t tell the whole story.

Oh, and by the way, the NDP is supposed to be the party of labour; why then should unions not contribute to it?

A couple of years ago, I read in The Herald that the Wildrose was given $3 million in start-up money by the oil boys.

1. If this is true, how is that allowed by election rules?
2. If this is true, it’s due to no great feat of brilliance by anyone involved with the party, then, that it has done well for itself and will no doubt do even better next election as the deliberately set-up fallback for the failing Tories. Everyone knows that moneyed campaigns usually win elections.

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