Political donations show broad Tory support, weak Liberal fundraising

Elections Canada has issued its first quarterly report on political party contributions since new limits on political donations came into effect January 1, 2007.

The government’s Accountability Act was a key Conservative promise in the last election campaign. The Act:

  • Limits contributions to Canadian citizens only; corporations, trade unions, associations and other groups can no longer contribute;
  • Limits contributions to $1100 per person, per calendar year to each registered political party, candidate or leadership candidate;
  • Forbids cash contributions over $20;
  • Forbids political contribution with money, property or services that were given to the contributor for that purpose;

The Act was designed to prevent the kind of corruption and abuse seen in the Liberal sponsorship scandal, and to refocus party financing away from contributions from corporations, unions, special interests and wealthy individuals.

The new rules have highlighted stark differences in the ability of Canada’s political parties to secure broad-based financial support from many contributors making donations under $1100.

Contributions to Political Parties (Q1 2007, Elections Canada)

NDP Liberal Green Bloc
Contributions from individuals
Total number of contributors 45,192 14,782 4,365 2,669 476
Total amount of contributions ($)
5,176,736 1,237,973 531,141 154,452 34,228
Total transfers from registered associations ($) 0 100 46,650 0 4,336
Total transfers from candidates ($) 0 0 11,050 0 1,855
Total Transfers 0 100 57,700 3,566 6,190
Grand Total $5,176,736 $1,238,072 $588,841 $158,017 $40,418

The Liberal Party has long based its fundraising on large donations from corporations, unions, special interest groups, and a small number of wealthy individuals. The loss of these funding sources has dramatically reduced contributions to the party.

By contrast, political contributions show broad-based support for the Conservative Party, receiving 10 times the donations from 10 times as many contributors as the Liberal Party.

Similarly, the NDP received donations from 3 times as many contributors as the Liberals.

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