Accidental Deliberations: Fund-Raising Review By Province – Conservatives

As promised, let’s dig into La Presse’s party fund-raising data to see what we can conclude about where and how Canada’s political parties have raised money over the past few years – starting with the party which has lapped the field in the area.

The numbers are arrived at as follows:
– The full list of donations is sorted by party.
– The party donations are sorted first by province, then by year.
– Once the sorting isolates the donations for a province and year, those amounts are summed and included in the chart below, alongside the percentage of the Cons’ annual donations sourced from the province.

Due to some imperfections in the data, some donations aren’t classified by province (in the Cons’ case totalling $54,199.70) or year (totalling $3,594,456.53), while others included in more authoritative totals seem to be missed entirely. And the 2010 numbers are even more spotty since they’re based on quarterly rather than annual data. But assuming there’s no systematic reason for particular types of donations being missed, we should still be able to draw some conclusions from the partial data.

Conservative Donations – 2007-2010 (partial)

Prov 2007$ 2007% 2008$ 2008% 2009$ 2009% 2010$ 2010%
AB $2,380,340.42 20.09% $3,716,554.54 20.18% $2,664,881.58 20.00% $1,452,201.50 24.15%
BC $2,019,853.99 17.05% $3,100,353.52 16.83% $2,250,832.69 16.89% $1,038,942.14 17.28%
MB $463,520.5 3.91% $803,726.78 4.36% $664,025.63 4.98% $295,992.94 4.92%
NB $135,870.93 1.15% $262,806.92 1.43% $202,580.19 1.52% $77,061.01 1.28%
NL $20,881.78 0.18% $58,065 0.32% $18,615 0.14% $19,010 0.32%
NS $160,287.36 1.35% $301,036.59 1.63% $241,260.57 1.81% $98,618.29 1.64%
NT $24,711.25 0.21% $29,851.25 0.16% $22,008.50 0.17% $17,459 0.29%
NU $1,750 0.01% $3,735 0.02% $7,330 0.06% $7,100 0.12%
ON $4,891,693.16 41.29% $7,448,196.41 40.44% $5,409,701.47 40.60% $2,405,206.29 40.00%
PE $73,704 0.62% $77,067 0.42% $87,418.49 0.66% $17,290.02 0.29%
QC $1,172,699.74 9.90% $1,804,613.22 9.80% $1,094,044.96 8.21% $261,928.92 4.36%
SK $460,756.01 3.89% $755,387.63 4.10% $623,807.58 4.68% $306,239.01 5.09%
YT $41,450 0.35% $56,270.45 0.31% $38,505 0.29% $16,390 0.27%
Total $11,847,519.14 n/a $18,418,114.31 n/a $13,325,011.66 n/a $6,013,529.12 n/a

So what can we tell from the above? On a first look, there are a few details worth highlighting – keeping in mind that with election years and incomplete data limiting the value of looking at the totals, the most important information figures to lie in the comparison between provinces.

To start with, the most remarkable trend in the few years of data is the Cons’ drop-off in Quebec fund-raising.

It’s not much of a secret that the Cons’ strategy from the end of 2008 onward has largely involved punting on the province aside from their then-current seats. But they didn’t seem to have a lot to lose to begin with, having never brought in so much as 10% of their annual fund-raising from a province with 23% of Canada’s population. And from that starting point, it’s stunning to see how their abandonment of Quebec played out from a fund-raising perspective – with a modest but significant drop in 2009, followed by a dive off a cliff in 2010 to the point where the Cons’ Quebec fund-raising rated behind that from each of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Meanwhile, the Cons have found what strikes me as a surprising counterweight to make up for that Quebec decline.

I’d have expected the Cons to have maximized their western fund-raising long ago, while still having some room to grow in Ontario as they’ve expanded their vote totals there. But La Presse’s numbers show exactly the opposite.

In fact, the Ontario haul as a proportion of Con fund-raising has been relatively stable – which seems to signal that the Cons have already tapped the market to the extent reasonably possible. Instead, it’s the prairie provinces that have actually increased their relative contribution fairly steadily in recent years – with Saskatchewan increasing each year, Manitoba nearly doing the same, and Alberta seeing a striking jump in 2010, even as all were already contributing well above their share based on their population totals.

Finally, one other note of interest is the effect that Danny Williams’ ABC campaign looks to have had on the Cons’ fund-raising in Newfoundland and Labrador. Not that they started from much of a position of strength originally – but in both 2007 and 2009, the party actually managed to raise more from each of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories than it was able to bring in from a province with half a million residents and a nominally affiliated provincial government.

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