Which BC Political Party Do Individuals REALLY Contribute More to?


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Dueling press releases [reprinted below] filled our province last week with different spin on the role that individuals play in funding the two main political parties in BC.

The neoLiberals claim, “Individuals are the life-blood of our party. They’re the ones who are making a difference by not only donating their money but their time as well.” Individuals provided 82% of the distinct contributions to the party. The value of their contributions at $2.6m, however, was dwarfed by corporate donations of $9.1m. Less than one-fifth of all distinct donations, then, outweighed by over 3 times the amount contributed by over four-fifths of all distinct donations.

The neoLiberal spin is intended to show themselves as the part of Everyman. A pale attempt when 69% of the value of contributions from the NDP came from actual breathing human beings, as opposed to the fictional legal personhood of corporations.

It’s time to enact campaign finance reform to insist that only actual living human beings are allowed to contribute funds to political parties, not immortal pseudo-human corporate bodies or unions. Union members and corporate directors and shareholders–as humans–are more legitimate contributors than their non-human collective bodies.

BC NDP Press Release:

April 02, 2006
Political donations show wide support for NDP

BURNABY — On Monday, Elections BC will release the 2005 financial reports for the BC Liberals and the New Democrats, and once again the numbers show the NDP enjoys wide support by ordinary people while the Liberals remain dependent on corporate donations.

In 2005, the BC NDP raised a total of $7.5 million. Of this amount, 69 per cent — $5.2 million — came in the form of donations from individual British Columbians.

By contrast, only 20 per cent of the $13 million raised by the BC Liberals came from individual donations. Instead, the vast majority — 77 per cent — of their backing came from business.

“Average families in BC know that Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals just don’t care about the things that matter to them,” said BC NDP President Jeff Fox. “They’re out of touch with ordinary people, and these numbers make it pretty clear they remain too dependent on the support of a single group despite the diversity of our province.”

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Numbers at a Glance:

BC NDP

Total contributions:
$7,551,310
Total contributions from individuals:
$5,224,926 (69% of total)
Total contributions from corporations:
$227,409 (3% of total)
Total contributions from unions:
$2,061,461 (27% of total)

BC LIBERALS

Total contributions:
$13,112,445
Total contributions from individuals:
$2,628,053 (20% of total)
Total contributions from corporations:
$9,157,790 (70% of total)
Total contributions from unincorporated business:
$958,547 (7% of total)

BC neoLiberal Party Press Release:

Individuals Dominate BC Liberal Contributors in 2005

March 31, 2006

VANCOUVER – Individuals made up a full eighty-two percent of the contributors to the BC Liberal Party in 2005, BC Liberal Executive Director Kelly Reichert said today.

“Our numbers speak for themselves,” said Reichert. “We are receiving contributions from individuals almost six to one versus all other donor categories combined, a five percent increase from 2004.”

Today is the deadline for all registered political parties to file their annual financing reports with Elections BC. In the spirit of openness and accountability, the BC Liberal Party is today releasing summaries of political contributors.

“Individuals are the life-blood of our party,” said Reichert. “They’re the ones who are making a difference by not only donating their money but their time as well.”

Small businesses were also big supporters of the BC Liberal Party in 2005, with almost two-thirds of all corporate classification donations being $1000 or less.

“Small business has a long-standing record of supporting the BC Liberal Party,” said Reichert. “The strong economic foundation created by the BC Liberal government resonates well with small business owners and they certainly want to see that progress continue.”

The BC Liberals raised $7.8 million at the party level in 2005, with a further $5.3 million raised by the 79 local constituency associations.

Full versions of the election financing reports will be available for public inspection at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer and on Election BC’s web site on Tuesday, April 4, 2006 at 9 a.m.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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2 thoughts on “Which BC Political Party Do Individuals REALLY Contribute More to?”

  1. Okay, I admit confusion (in general, math does this to me, which I believe is why God gave us – or at least me – accountants).

    Is this a semantics game? How does 82% of ‘distinct donations’ equal 20% of the value of donations? I take it this means the number of actual donations (not the value) is greater from individuals than corporations.

    That said, when the corporate total is so much higher, wouldn’t it be a much more prudent communications strategy not to even release a press release?

  2. you would think!

    but then again, releasing a press release with a technically accurate, yet substantially misleading headline can reap great rewards with a public not up for critical thinking.

    this goes quite well with yesterday’s post with the Metro‘s wonky headline.

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