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.