ILLUSTRATIONS: The Alberta fund-raising horse race. From left to right, Wildrose leader Brian Jean, NDP Leader and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and PC interim Leader Ric McIver. Actual Alberta political leaders may not appear exactly as illustrated. Below: The real Ms. Notley, Mr. Jean, Mr. McIver and PC leadership contender Jason Kenney.

Never mind the gloomy mainstream narrative – Alberta’s New Democratic Party raised more money in the third quarter of 2016 than the Opposition Wildrose Party.

This just in from Elections Alberta. So you don’t have to take my word for it!

While this is the first quarter since the second quarter of 2015 that the NDP has raised more money than the Wildrosers, it certainly suggests there’s lots of life in the government party yet – no matter what all the usual suspects on the right would like you to believe.

That said, you can read too much into this sort of thing, and I don’t intend to. Still, it’s a fact that Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP raised more money in the quarter ended Sept. 30 than the Wildrose Party and the Progressive Conservatives combined.

So, just to be clear, among the Big Three fund raisers, the New Democrats raised $425,437.90 in the third quarter, which started on July 1, the Wildrosers led by Opposition Leader Brian Jean brought in $330,666.45 and the PCs led in an interim sort of way by Ric McIver raised a comparatively paltry $48,209.16.

It’s fun, but entirely speculative, to wonder what impact the PC leadership race is having on the ability of the two Conservative parties to raise funds.

Alert readers will remember that social conservative former Harper Government cabinet minister Jason Kenney, who until September was the Member of Parliament for Calgary-Midnapore, is trying to engineer a double reverse hostile takeover of the two parties – starting with the PCs and then moving on to the Wildrose.

So are Mr. Kenney’s combined candidacy and strategy suppressing PC donations? Or are the PCs’ lousy numbers just a matter of their third-party status in the Legislature after nearly 44 years of running the place? There’s little doubt the fact they still haven’t figured out how to fund-raise after years of nearly automatic corporate donations, which were banned along with union donations by the NDP in June 2015, is having an impact on their bottom line too. The NDP and the Wildrose Party are both much more skilled at getting funds from small donors, and the contents of my email in-box proves it.

Or does the increase in PC donations from the paltry $27,000 and change they brought in in the second quarter indicate Mr. Kenney is now actually wooing donors away from Mr. Jean?

Aw, who knows? As Zhou Enlai advised Henry Kissinger about the true meaning of the French Revolution, it’s too soon to tell. (And if you read this blog, you’re supposed to know who Zhou Enlai and Henry Kissinger are and why this is funny without me having to explain it to you.)

Look at the numbers for the first three quarters combined, excluding donations to constituency associations, and the Wildrose Party remains in the lead, but hardly by a furlong – $1.25 million for the ’Rosies compared with $1.19 million for the Dippers and $181,000 for the Cons.

Add in donations to constituency associations for the same period and the Wildrose numbers rise marginally to $1.4 million and the PCs’ dramatically to $269,000 while the New Democrats’ don’t change at all because the NDP doesn’t do things that way. That is, every donation to the NDP is a donation to the NDP.

Third-quarter numbers for the remaining parties that managed to bring in some cash in the period show the Alberta Liberals breathing down the PCs’ neck for third place with a total of $39,187.98. The Alberta Party raised $15,511.50 in the quarter and the Greens got $2,127.50.

Readers and watchers of various far-right social media sites, who see Communists hiding under almost every bed and park bench in Alberta, will be disappointed to learn the Communist Party brought in no donations at all in the quarter. Nor did the Alberta First Party, Alberta Social Credit, and the Reform Party of Alberta.

And, um, that’s it.

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  1. re: ‘the PCs led in an interim sort of way by Ric McIver raised a comparatively paltry $48,209.16.’

    This would seem to fairly strongly undercut the judgement of the May 2016 PC delegates at the annual PC convention who voted almost unanimously to rebuild the PCs.

    Apparently, there are not a lot of PC members willing to donate to maintain the PCs, beyond those hardcore delegates.

    Probably, more reason to stick with the view that Kenney’s got it in the bag.

  2. David – money is important. But (IMHO) the willingness to hit the street in support of your preferred party is at least as important. In fact it is more important. With a large caucus of “newbies”, it has taken some time for individual MLAs to learn how to mobilize volunteers and donors. I am seeing the process working in Calgary Mountain View and other electoral districts in Calgary. The NDP is not distracted by divisive leadership and “unite the right” debates. We have an outstanding leader in the person of Premier Rachel Notley. Solid cabinet. Excellent policies to make Alberta a better place for “ordinary Canadians.” Three years before the next election. I think the next election will unfold like the German blitzkrieg in 1940 – 41. We are gong to demolish anybody who tries to take down our government.

  3. Humm – my theory is that members of both the PCs and the WR are sitting on their money. I hear more and more form people in those parties that they will not donate until there is unity. This is more so for the WR members. If you look at the quarterly data for the year the WR is down ~ $105,000 in donations < $250.01. An area where they are supposed to excel.

  4. Can you tell me the number of individual donors for each party? It makes a difference in the actual showing off support.. Rich or poor each gets a vote.

      1. The quarterly reports by each party actually show the number of contributions. For example, for the third quarter, 356 contributions were received by NDP.

        1. Unfortunately, Peter, your response is only partly correct. So I stand by my response to Trevor. The quarterly reports show the number of contributions over $250. So, as you point out, 356 contributions totalling $222,468.02 were received by the NDP. That leaves $202,969.88 in donations smaller than $250. So the possible range is about 800 if they were all about $249 to more than 200,000 if they were all of only about a dollar each. To me, that’s not a very useful range, but maybe you can make something of it. The first number would suggest NDP supporters are sneaks who wanted to hide their donations; the second would suggest support for the NDP is a mile wide and an inch deep, as we used to say in pre-metric times. I think both are unlikely. Let’s imagine the average is $50. That would mean the NDP received a grand total of about 4,400 donations, a more meaningful number – except that it might be wrong.

  5. Where’s the balance, where’s the skepticism? At least a fleeting reference to polling , still showing Wildrose far ahead , I presume, would improve this piece of boosterism. . And as for the donations, are they coming from ordinary people,or corporat ions and unions hoping for favours?

    1. Mr. Weatherbee: My blogs have a point of view; they are not news stories. I write a post pretty well every night – I can’t cover every permutation of a developing political story every night. Polling at the moment is not yet providing as a clear picture of the political state of mind in Alberta as your comment suggests. The Wildrose did appear to be leading province wide, and the NDP only in the Edmonton region. My guy tells me this is about right. Another poll, reported this evening by a mainstream media political columnist however, shows the PCs far ahead. I am skeptical of this result, but I recognize it could be possible. Time will tell. As for where contributions are coming from, it’s not corporations or unions, at least directly, as legislation passed by the NDP banned such donations. I take it as a compliment – and a condemnation of the state of the mainstream media – that this kind of complaint is directed at a mere blogger, a complete unknown, not dissimilar from the proverbial rolling stone, as one Nobel Prize winner or another once said.

  6. I agree one part of the story is that Unite the Right is causing a decline in Wildrose and PC donations. I don’t think this is mainly because the donors want to force unity, although some may. I think it is more just wait and see what the outcome is. I think it would be hard to convince anyone to donate to a party that may not be around in a year.

    Fortunately for the NDP, it is not hurt by such distractions. Their steady fundraising perhaps points to some organizational strength that might be helpful in the next election.

  7. Please explain why the NDP, as a “grassroots” party, does not allow constituency associations to raise and hold their own funds? Is it because the NDP mothership wants to be able control what the local associations do by making them beg them for funds to do simple things like rent a meeting hall, or is it because most of their local associations are really only a shell organization?

    Personally, I think it is both in equal measure.

    1. This is simply a feature of the NDP’s bylaws. Local constituency associations get portions of their donations back from the central party, but the whole matter of receiving & depositing funds, and issuing tax receipts, is handled centrally. Every party has the right to structure its internal processes as it sees fit, and the NDP is a member-driven organization that could change this if the membership wanted to.

  8. Dave I assume you have read Don Braid’s latest column in which The unite the right fund raising arm raised 497000 in the same time period. It puts things back in perspective.

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