Conservatives NOT the party of the big donors according to donor history

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opular myth has it that the Conser- vatives belong to the party of big business. This is not borne out by

the records. While some large donors give to more than one party, the Liberals are the recipients of the biggest chunks of cash.

Corporations have not been allowed to

donate to Federal political parties for the past decade, but that doesn’t stop family members from chipping in to help their favourite party. Not that this is saying a lot.

All things considered, the total $1.163 million over ten years amounts to a mere $116,250 a year for all the parties, prov- ing that ‘big’ donors of the past are not the influencers they might once have been. Federally,

the Liberals took in

$653,000 from the top ten donors in that period. The Conservatives $487,000 and all other parties a mere $22,500 over the period. Top 10 federal family donors Desmarais family,

the owners of

Quebec's Power Corp. of Canada gave Liberals $190,000; the Conservatives $100,000.

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Laurent Beaudoin and the Bombar- dier family gave the Liberals $132,000 and the Conservatives $81,000. Asper family has been fairly even- handed and has extended that hand to all political parties. They gave the Liber- als $80,000; the Conservatives $77,000; the Green Party $6,200 and the NDP $2,500.

Khosrowshahi family who founded

Future Shop in B.C. gave the Liber- als: $90,000; and the Conservatives: $53,000. Bernard and Jacques Lamarre who engineering

control firm SNC-Lavalin

Group Inc. donated $70,000 to the Lib- erals $24,000 to the Conservatives and $5,800 to the Bloc Eliott Lifson and his wife. Mr. Lifson is the president of the Canadian Apparel Federation. The Liberals got $43,000, the Conservatives $27,000, the Bloc Québécois $4,100, while even the NDP got a bite at $3,500 Leonard Gustafson, a Conservative party loyalist who was appointed to the Privy council by Stephen harper gave the conservatives $59,000. Donald K. Johnson, former president of Burns Fry Ltd donated $38,000 to the Conservatives. The Liberals got $21,000. Paul Hill, CEO of Saskatchewan's

Hill Companies, gave the Conservatives $28,000 and the Liberals $23,000. He

also threw in $400 to the NDP. Richard Renaud, Montreal busi- nessman, philanthropist and founder of the Roasters Foundation coughed up $25,000 for the Liberals and $17,000 to the Conservatives. Top 10 Manitoba donors In Manitoba, it appears that the Pro-

gressive Conservative Party is the party of the little guy. The PC Party raised $41.5 million from small donors between 2005 and 2016, while the NDP raised a total of $8.4 million from the same sources and the Liberals $1.1 million. When it came to larger gifts though, the NDP dominate the list of top donations. NDP donors were most generous, with total gifts of $188,609 of the $265,064 given by the top 10, but the amounts over the 11 year period are very small and were certainly not large enough to influ- ence policy. In Manitoba, donors of gifts exceeding $250 are listed. Here are the top ten over the past 11 years: Kieran O'Keefe, staff psychiatrist at St. Boniface General Hospital donated an amount to the NDP totaling $28,332. Anna Rothney, former priorities and planning secretary under Greg Selinger and now the executive director of the Manitoba Federation of Labour donated $26,734 to the NDP. Anita Borger, wife of the President of Borland Construction, spread it around, giving $14,350 to the NDP, $10,200 to the PCs and $1,000 to the Liberals. Gregory Dewar was minister of fi- nance under Selinger and donated to the NDP: $25,546. Naomi Gerrard, wife of Jon Gerrard, donated $19,101 to the Liberals. Jon do- nated another $24,975. They were the mainstay of the party, it appears. Sandra Oakley, then Manitoba re-

gional director for the Canadian Union of Public Employees donated $24,286 to the NDP.

J. Henry Borger donated $21,179 for the PCs and $1,800 to the NDP. Greg Selinger, premier from 2009 to 2016, donated $22,748 to the NDP. Susan Budnik Pilon, a former em-

ployee in the premier's office donated $22,465 to the NDP. Patricia Britton, former executive co-

ordinator for the Premier's Economic Ad- visory Council, donated $22,366 to the NDP.

• • •

Many will point to these picayune amounts to support the theory that po- litical donation laws are working. That is true on the surface, but the fact is that deep pockets have many ways to exert their influence. The tightening of dona- tion amounts simply pushes these alterna- tive means underground.

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