BC Liberals bag $10 million, refuse donor reform

Corporate donations more than half BC Liberal total, NDP's donations mostly small sums from individuals

After reporting $10 million in donations for 2015, the B.C. Liberal Party has no plans to restrict donations to individuals only as other provinces have done.

More than $5 million of the ruling party’s donations came from corporations, with individuals giving $3.3 million and trade unions chipping in just $23,800, according to filings this week with Elections BC.

The B.C. NDP collected just over $3 million last year, mostly from individual donations under $200, and banked nearly $1 million more from the sale of its former headquarters in Burnaby. Trade unions donated about $375,000 to the NDP and corporations gave $148,000.

With Alberta having outlawed corporate and union donations and Ontario moving to do the same, B.C. Liberal house leader Mike de Jong isn’t swayed by controversies in other provinces.

“The issue that seems to be at the forefront today … is whether or not we’re proposing or thinking about eliminating corporate and union donations, and we’re not,” de Jong told reporters Tuesday.

NDP leader John Horgan, who has criticized Premier Christy Clark’s private meetings with donors paying $10,000 each, has repeatedly called for an end to corporate and union donations. Horgan has hosted his own fundraising events, including a $5,000-a-plate breakfast in Toronto last week.

The NDP’s biggest donors in 2015 were the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union, with more than $92,000 and the United Steelworkers Canada with $62,000.

The biggest donor to the BC Liberals was the Charles F. White Corporation, the company of Keg Restaurants owner David Aisenstat, which gave $112,000 in 2015. Rennie Marketing Systems, whose principal Bob Rennie is the party’s fundraising chair, gave $73,500.

Other large corporate donations included $100,400 from Aquilini Investment Group, $98,000 from Concord Pacific Developments Corp., $92,925 from natural gas producer Encana Corp., $75,430 from miner Pretium Resources Inc., $62,225 from the New Car Dealers Association of B.C., $30,500 from Woodfibre LNG Ltd, $67,397 from Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., $31,458 from Great Canadian Gaming Corp., $70,500 from West Fraser Mills Ltd. and $29,550 from the Vancouver Taxi Association.

[BC Liberal donor list here. NDP donor list here.]

The BC Liberals took in more than $1 million at a single fundraising dinner in Vancouver June 2, 2015, with tickets selling for $1,000 and $450 and the majority of sales to organizations.

 

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