Alberta Politics

A closer look at PC constituency-level fundraising

Alberta Progressive Conservative PC Party Fundraising Assets 2013
Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta, Fundraising and Assets in 2013 (click to enlarge).

After 43-years in government, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party now faces serious competition in the fundraising field from the Wildrose Party.

Raising only $2.86 million in 2013, the PC Party ran a $136,000 deficit and owed $1.1 million on a line of credit. This shaky financial situation is unheard of for a natural governing party that is usually flush with cash.

The PC Party is are also facing criticism over a secret trust fund – the TAPCAL fund – which is a holdover from before changes were made to Alberta’s elections laws 36 years ago.

At the local-level, PC constituency associations raised more than $1.4 million in 2013. While most of the 87 PC associations reported  revenue in the thousands of dollars in the post-election year, a sharp gap in fundraising amounts has highlighted wealthy and poorer constituency associations in the PC Party.

More than $650,000 of the $1.4 million were raised by eleven local PC associations. In former premier Alison Redford‘s Calgary-Elbow constituency, the local PC association claimed more than $119,000 in revenue in 2013. In Calgary-Hays, represented by Infrastructure minister Ric McIver, the local PC association raised more than $95,000 last year. Most of the other nine associations are located in constituencies represented by cabinet ministers.

Meanwhile, PC associations in opposition held constituencies mostly reported low or insignificant levels of revenue in 2013. Many of these areas are now represented by Wildrose MLAs and had been represented by PC MLAs since the 1970s.

Last year, formerly powerful PC constituency associations in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Medicine Hat reported zero revenue in 2013. PC associations in Cypress-Medicine Hat, Little Bow, Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, Calgary-McCall, and Edmonton-Mill Woods reported less than $1,000 in revenue in 2013.

These low numbers suggest that some Tories may be having a difficult time adjusting to business without a local MLA to boost their fundraising initiatives.


It appears as though Randy Thorsteinson is attempting to resurrect the Reform Party of Alberta. Mr. Thorsteinson, the former leader of the Social Credit Party and the Alberta Alliance Party, has launched a Facebook page advocating for the recreation of the party that was dissolved in 2004.

5 replies on “A closer look at PC constituency-level fundraising”

The two Grande Prairie constituencies show a curious dichotomy. Grande Prairie-Smoky, which encompasses the north half of the city and rural territory roughly to the north and east of the city, and is represented by rookie MLA (and former County Reeve) Everett McDonald, raised just a few pennies under $2,890.

Grande Prairie-Wapiti, which encompasses the south half of the city and rural territory roughly to the west out to the BC border, and is represented by Transportation Minister Wayne Drysdale, raised $21,280 and change, almost 10 times as much as Smoky.

Smoky also reports zero receipted contributions, with 100% of its revenues coming from “fund-raising”; Wapiti OTOH reports about $13,350 in receipted contributions and about $7,556 from fund-raising.

I wonder why the explanation might be?

Hi Dave,

You may want to take a close look at the knotty issue of how money is being transferred and received. In the case of Calgary Elbow, the CA receives $50,000 for a Registered Candidate (Redford) and then issues $54728 for Registered Party and Registered CA. Essentially, Calgary Elbow only raised $69,000. I’m guessing part of the transfers issued is due to city-wide fundraising functions such as Premier’s Dinner where you might register through your CA which collects say $500, gets to keep $200 and the other $300 goes to the party?

Interestingly, the PC party report doesn’t show anything for transfers received and issued outside of $1000, but the Wildrose report shows over $200,000 of transactions (mostly on the issuing side).

Jerry: In the case of Grande Prairie, I would assume that it is at least partially due to GP-Wapiti having a cabinet minister as it’s MLA, as well as the GP-Wapiti PC CA and Wayne Drysdale having a well-known and well-attended recurring annual fundraising event each summer.

The PC party, in a year of lower-than-expected donations, went not-quite 5% over budget, and now has a debt-servicing cost of around 1% of revenues against an unknown level of assets, and annual revenues roughly equal to the amount of money they spent on the last election campaign. Yes. Clearly they are in a position of imminent financial collapse.

I am no fan of the PC’s at this point but it’s disingenuous to talk about how few PC constituency associations are raising money when the WR constituency associations are in the exact same position.

I have been following the WR fundraising for the past year and outside of a handful of constituency associations, virtually all the rest of them have not been receiving funds as a result of fundraising or receipted donations.

The WR is outraising the PC’s but $430,000 will not be enough to fund Danielle’s campaign and all 86 other campaigns in the 2016. Outside of the current sitting WR MLA’s, very few of the other 70 WR constituency associations will have the funds to run a successful 2016 election campaign.

The only thing the WR cares about is getting power – by electing Danielle and creating enough smoke and mirrors for the general public to perceive Danielle as the next leader.

The WR is starting to make headway and it’s unlikely a new PC leader is going to drastically change the sinking PC Alberta shift. However, it’s not enough for the WR to get people angry with the PC’s – they still have to give the general public enough of a reason TO VOTE for the WR.

Two weeks ago Danielle raised the idea of the PC’s calling an early election in 2015. In 2009, just shortly after she was crowned WR leader, she was convinced the PC’s were going to call the election in 2010. It was almost two years before the next election in 2012.

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