The recent $500 a plate fundraiser for the provincial PC party got me wondering about who contributes money to the provincial political parties. Here is what I got from Elections NL.
Two things jump out right away: most donations go to the governing party and most donations come from businesses. The following chart presents total income of the provincial political parties over the last 8 even years (only `96 was an election year).
Where is the money coming from? In 2010, over 80% was from corporate donations. I've classified corporate donors giving more than $2000 according to industry and listed them below in rounded figures. The first column is donations to the PC party and the second is donations the Liberal party (there are none to the NDP). The discrepancy is hard to miss.
Construction and Contracting:
|BAE - Newplan Grounp Ltd.||14500|
|DF Barnes Ltd||14000|
|NL Design Associates Ltd||12000||250|
|AMEC Americas Ltd.||9500|
|Provincial Paving Ltd||7500|
|J-1 Contracting Ltd||5000|
|Municipal Construction Ltd||5000|
|ND Dobbin Ltd||3900|
|Nortech Construction Ltd||3900|
|Ellsworth Estates Inc||3800|
|Crosbie Group Ltd||3400|
|Marco Services Ltd||2500|
|Eastern Contracting Ltd||3600|
Total $107K $1K
|PHB Group Inc.||13000|
|Gibbon Snow Architects Inc||11000|
|Sheppard Case Architects Inc.||10000|
|Hearn Fougere Architects Inc||8200|
|Frank Stanley & Associates, Architect||6450|
|John Hearn Architect Inc||5000|
|Ron Fougerie Associates Ltd||5000|
|Hampton Architects Inc||4000||100|
Total $63K $0.1K
|Hatch Mott MacDonald Ltd||8000|
|NL Consulting Engineers Ltd||7500|
|GJ Cahill & Co||5700|
|Core Engineering Inc.||4800||500|
|Design Management Group Ltd||3800|
|AMEC Earth & Enviro||3500|
|NewLab Engineering Ltd||2300||450|
|Exploits Engineering Consultants Ltd||2400|
Total $47K $1K
|Bell Aliant Inc.||16000||5500|
|Rogers Comm. Inc.||9500||4500|
Total $26K $10K
|Vale/ Vale Inco||9000|
|Coordinates Capital Corp||5000|
|Fugro Jacques GeoSurveys Inc.||5350|
|North Atlantic Refining Ltd||4500|
|Imperial Oil Ltd||2400|
Total $30K $1.5K
|Bank of Nova Scotia||5000|
|TD Financial Group||4500|
|Royal Bank of Canada||2800|
|CIBC Wood Gundy||6500|
Total $19K $5K
|Shoppers Drug Mart||8500|
|British Confectionary Company Ltd||8000|
|Coleman Management Services Ltd.||5000|
|JB Hand & Sons Ltd||3000|
|Chester Dawe Ltd.||2500|
|Labatt Brewing Company||9000|
|Browning Harvey Ltd||6500||700|
|Molson Coors Brewing Company||7000|
Total $23K $1K
|The Idea Factory||4500|
|M5 Marketing Communications Inc.||4300|
|Pilot Communications Inc||2800|
|PF Collins Customs Broker Ltd||7000|
|Puddister Shipping Ltd||2300|
|Fasken Martineau Duomulin SEN||9500|
|Benson Myles PLC Inc.||5150|
|Ocean Choice Int Inc||6500|
|Labrador Fisherman's Union Shrimp Company||1000||1200|
Total $8K $1K
Pulp and Paper:
|Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Inc||2000|
There are a handful of donations that didn't fit into these categories. Provincial Airlines, who are currently implicated in the Penashue scandal, gave $17.5K to the PCs and five hundred to the Liberals. Labrador Marine Inc., who operate ferry service in Labrador, gave $10K to the PCs. A Harvey & Company, a diversified group of companies, gave $10K to the PCs. There are single donations from a hotel, an aquaculture company, a sheet metal manufacturer, and a real estate company. A marketing firm called Bristol Group Inc. gave a huge donation of $38K to the Liberals right before getting taken over by a competitor, which seems pretty weird so I didn't include it in the table above.
In addition to corporate donations, there were a couple individual donations to the PCs and the United Steel Workers of America gave $20K to the NDP. The second biggest donation to the NDP? Lorraine Michael, who contributed $1200.
So what is behind all this generosity? The biggest donors are competing for construction contracts: construction, architecture and engineering. The natural resource companies are always dealing with government. Law and PR get government business. I'm not sure about retail, finance, telecoms, and beer; I guess they just have a lot of money to splash around.
The fact that corporate contributions are going overwhelmingly to the governing party strongly suggests a "pay to play" culture: businesses feel they need to pay up in order to win government contracts and other favours. Politicians will deny that they are affected by donations, but reciprocity is such a fundamental part of human nature that all this money must be distorting their behaviour. Corporate political contributions are bad for democracy and we should fight to put an end to them.
PS: If you like this kind of stuff you should check out Labradore which has several recent posts on this subject, including an analysis of election year donations to individual candidates.
This is an excellent article! Thanks for this!
Not sure about the donations from the breweries either? You put it right... lots about this is backwards and weird.
Thanks man, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll do something similar for municipal politics when I get a chance.
Deregulation, based on the US model, drives corporate contributions.
This is such important information. Thank you for compiling it. It's very telling.
Post a Comment