(UPDATED April 8): The BC Liberals raised an eye-popping $13,124,805 in 2016, according to their annual report, published April 5 by Elections BC. Almost half of the Liberals’ lucre came from corporations.
A key date in 2016 was Sept. 20. That’s when Deputy Premier and Re-Election Campaign Co-Chair Rich Coleman headlined a Granville Island Hotel fundraiser with party faithful who forked out $40 each to attend the Pamela Martin emceed BC Liberal Women’s Network affair.
A recording of the speech was leaked to me and it contained this surprising revelation from the Fort Langley-Aldergrove bloviator: “We’re fully funded for a campaign.”
Coleman didn’t disclose any numbers, but he boasted “things are in great shape.”
Elections BC’s April-updated database shows that the party had raised $8,271,893.75 as of Sept. 20, 2016. By comparison, in 2013, the party had $8.3 million of donations and $3 million in loans from four banks in its election war chest. The Liberals wound-up spending $11.7 million to get re-elected.
“We have never been in the financial position that we are,” Coleman proclaimed.
Clearly, the BC Liberals are exploiting the lack of campaign financing laws. Any amount from any source, even offshore, is welcome. Tax deduction receipts are issued, meaning there is an indirect subsidy by taxpayers.
Listen to Coleman for yourself below.
That got me thinking. Why does party fundraising continue unabated? It is quite an achievement to be “fully funded” for an election campaign seven-and-a-half months before the May 9 election day. Why not, y’know, focus full-time on governing and not worry about campaigning until closer to the official April 11 launch?
Why all these fundraisers and why are some of the tickets so steep?
- $5,000 to be platinum sponsor of Burnaby Lougheed candidate Steve Darling’s Wine and Roses fundraiser with Transportation Minister Todd Stone at a Burnaby casino;
- $150 for Mary Polak’s Feb. 10 fundraiser at Langley casino;
- $250 for Jordan Sturdy’s Feb. 8 fundraiser at Capilano Golf and Country Club with Mary Polak;
- $5,000 for sponsorship of Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton’s Feb. 8 fundraiser with Finance Minister Mike de Jong;
- $1,000 for a VIP reception with Premier Christy Clark on Feb. 7 at Wendy Lisogar-Cocchia’s hotel;
- $250 for Community, Sport and Culture Minister Peter Fassbender’s Feb. 2 wingding at Aria Banquet Hall;
- $500 for a VIP seat at Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson’s table on Feb. 1;
- $2,500 to be one of 20 people at a Jan. 27 dinner with Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick;
- $5,000 to be one of 20 people at a Mission Hill Winery dinner with Premier Christy Clark and Letnick on Jan. 26;
- $350 to drink scotch and eat haggis with Speaker Linda Reid on Jan. 25 at Mayfair Lakes in Richmond;
- $350 for a Dec. 6 evening with North Island candidate Dallas Smith, Energy Minister Bill Bennett and Education Minister Mike Bernier at the posh Terminal City Club;
- $1,000 for dinner with Skeena candidate Ellis Ross at the swanky Vancouver Club on Nov. 30;
- $388 for International Trade Minister Teresa Wat’s “winter celebration” at a Richmond casino with Premier Christy Clark on Nov. 28;
- $1,000 at an undisclosed West Vancouver location with Naomi Yamamoto on Nov. 16;
- $100 to meet Children and Families Minister Stephanie Cadieux on Oct. 26 at an undisclosed location;
- $175 to meet Fassbender on Oct. 20 at Royal Colwood Golf Club;
Fundraising takes up a lot of Coleman’s time. He flew to Vancouver from Victoria on Feb. 23 last year to attend a mysterious Wall Centre private dinner with the real estate tycoons who chipped-in to a $1.65 million windfall for the party.
Could Coleman and co. be helping allies with a third-party anti-NDP campaign, like John Winter, Frank Pasacreta and Jim Laurence’s Future Prosperity Inc.?
Or is the party already building a nest egg for the election after the next, in 2021?