Alberta Politics
Rachel Notley and Sarah Hoffman when they were Alberta’s premier and health minister — admit it, don’t you wish they still were? (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Alberta NDP raises dramatically more in donations than the UCP during second quarter

Posted on July 24, 2020, 3:14 am
6 mins

Alberta’s United Conservative Party, it turns out, is almost as bad at governing as it is good at campaigning.

That’s probably a better place to be from a political party’s perspective than the opposite, as could credibly said of the Alberta NDP, which with 20/20 hindsight looks as if it was pretty good at governing but not so great at the dark arts of campaigning.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw (Photo: Chris Schwarz, Government of Alberta).

Admit it, wouldn’t you rather be facing the global coronavirus pandemic with Rachel Notley as premier and Sarah Hoffman as health minister than with the occupants of Premier Jason Kenney’s clown car cabinet at the provincial steering wheel?

Well, to be fair, Mr. Kenney has his believers, and if there’s a silver lining to the cloud that darkens Alberta’s government today it’s that we don’t have to hear them shouting “Lock ’er up!” as they blame Ms. Notley for personally inventing COVID-19 and smuggling it in from China in her handbag.

Every afternoon nowadays the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, tells us that the surging rate of COVID-19 infections in Alberta is a “wake up call” for all of us. “This needs to be a wake-up call,” she said yesterday of the 114 new cases reported in the province the day before. “I am very concerned by these numbers.”

And every morning, the UCP government sleeps through the alarm, dreaming of fun Twitter battles, beach parties at privatized parks, and beating the stuffing out of the Alberta Medical Association.

Well, as Dr. Hinshaw warned yesterday, the intensive care units are starting to get crowded, so maybe the government will find some courage today and do something about it. Or maybe they’ll slough off the problem on under-funded municipalities and grumble about them sotto voce for taking away our freedom to infect our neighbours.

It’s not just me that feels this way, apparently. There’s actual evidence in the political party financial disclosures published this week by Elections Alberta, which show that for the first time in 11 quarters Alberta’s New Democrats raised more money than the UCP.

The 2020 second-quarter report for April, May and June shows the NDP raised $1,032,796.85 while the UCP took in $642,677.29.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: Chris Schwarz, Government of Alberta).

What do you want to bet a lot of those donations were made by disillusioned physicians between sending out resumes to clinics in B.C.

As blogger Dave Cournoyer observed, “this is almost the opposite of the first quarter of 2020, in which the UCP raised $1.2 million and the NDP trailed with $582.130.”

This may not be quite the horserace it seems, of course, since the UCP has access to plenty of dark money via PACs ready to campaign on the party’s talking points that is inaccessible to a party like the NDP — except for a very few labour unions, a source of money the UCP has legislative plans to unconstitutionally block and defund.

NDP donations also tend to be smaller even if this time they were more plentiful. As Mr. Cournoyer pointed out on his blog — “more than half of the donations to the NDP were in amounts of $250 or less, while almost two-thirds of donations to the UCP were in denominations over $250.”

The Alberta Party received donations of $20,851.40 in the quarter; the Alberta Liberals, $14,344.53; the Alberta Greens, $3,915; and the Wildrose Independence Party, 2,997.70. A few fringe-of-the-fringe parties received even more paltry sums.

Interestingly, mainstream media, which covered the UCP’s first-quarter fundraising success, seems to have been strangely silent up to now about this week’s Elections Alberta disclosures.

There have been recent news stories about the UCP’s supposed recent financial problems. It pitched its members in March by warning them it would have to cease operations if more money didn’t roll in — a highly unlikely story. And it ended last year with a deficit of $2.3-million and net liabilities totalling $1.1 million, according to Elections Alberta’s year-end disclosures.

The NDP, by comparison, ended 2019 in the black with a $748,548 surplus and a net liabilities of $376,977.

Shamelessly, in May the UCP also applied for — and got — funds from Ottawa’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to keep its party staff busy assailing the federal Liberals for not forking over more dough to the oil industry and less to working people left jobless by the pandemic lockdown.

But the alternative, UCP Communications Director Evan Menzies said at the time, would have been to have to lay off eight staffers, who would then have had to apply to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to keep body and soul together until their federal Employment Insurance came through.

The NDP chose not to apply for federal funds. Who knows? Maybe donors approved of that, too.

9 Comments to: Alberta NDP raises dramatically more in donations than the UCP during second quarter

  1. Albertan

    July 24th, 2020

    I guess we’ll be seeing how the capacity of Alberta’s health care system does. It was assessed at being able to cope when ‘things’ were opened up. Also, a reminder for how a private-for-profit health care system does not cope well with a pandemic, we only need to look south of the border. And the Kenney UCP, et al, wants the same American style, private-for-profit system in Alberta? A wakup call, indeed.
    With regard to the AB NDP raising more money than the UCP, perhaps, hope beyond hope, an awakening is happening. This, along with many other disturbing Kenney UCP decisions including allowing a possible/probable open pit coal mine by the headwaters of the Oldman River watershed, should be keeping Albertans, awake, with concern.

  2. Dave

    July 24th, 2020

    I don’t think the level of political contributions matters as much as some in politics think. For instance the Federal Conservatives have been very successful at fundraising over the years, but their electoral record is much more mixed. However having said that, I do think this is a fairly troubling sign for the UCP, particularly as normally there is a fundraising advantage to being in government and being a right leaning party. Of course, the UCP put on a brave face about this, but one has to wonder whether behind closed doors they might be more concerned. It seems like protestors don’t get this government’s attention, but perhaps people not writing cheques might.

    I think at the minimum this is a sign that there are now cracks appearing in this UCP dynasty want to be. While Alberta had long term conservative leaning governments for many decades, I really do think the province has changed over the years and politically we are no longer longer the same province as in the 1950’s, the 1970’s or even the late 1990’s, which were perhaps the high water marks for those previous long conservative dynasties.

    It is interesting to observe that not only did UCP contributions go down (which is not unexpected given the current uncertain economic and health situations), but NDP contributions went up significantly. Perhaps this is a temporary blip due to disgruntled doctors, or perhaps there is more to it. When the long running previous PC dynasty’s normally very solid political contributions became more wobbly and even started to sometimes fall behind some other parties, it was also a sign that more people were starting to look elsewhere for political leadership.

    Yes, Mr. Kenney is quite good at campaigning, but governing is different. It involves taking action, not just clever symbolic ploys that result in little or nothing in the end. We can have more Senate elections and Senators in waiting again, but really that achieved nothing in 30 years for Senate reform. We can have referendums on issues beyond the province’s powers and control that will also probably be a waste of time and money along with other diversions like the War Room and the War on Doctors. For a while all this incessant, but irrelevant, campaigning and manufactured conflict may distract some people inclined to support the UCP. However, I suspect even many of them will eventually come to realize all this is also distracting this government from more effectively focusing and dealing with the real problems they can and should be dealing with.

    • jerrymacgp

      July 25th, 2020

      I agree, @Dave, fundraising doesn’t tell the whole story … but it is a significant indicator of the level of commitment amongst a political party’s base of support, and also of the party machinery’s organizational strength. It is also a potential harbinger of the party’s level of on-the-ground volunteer support when it comes to getting organized for 2023 — which really needs to get going no later than next year.

      Of course, we ought not to get too exercised over one quarter of data, but if this trend were to continue, the UCP would be in trouble.

  3. Murphy

    July 24th, 2020

    Absolutley no question that a wake-up call is required.
    “AHS plans to have 2,250 COVID-19 designated acute care beds by the
    end of April:
    – As of April 3, 2020, 1,935 are available for COVID patients; and
    – New COVID dedicated spaces are being brought online.
    Peak of 818 (736 to 900)
    hospitalizations in probable
    scenario, which is projected
    late May
    Peak of 1,570 (1,491 to 1,649)
    hospitalizations in elevated
    scenario, which is projected
    start of May”

    “Well, as Dr. Hinshaw warned yesterday, the intensive care units are starting to get crowded, so maybe the government will find some courage today and do something about it.”
    “On Thursday, 106 people were being treated in hospital for the disease, with 21 of them in ICU beds.”
    “Existing Capacity
    ICU beds 295”

    Ahh, the “surge”. General Petraeus, where are you when we need you? 31 cases on Aril 8, three weeks after closing the schools, the malls, the rinks, the gyms, the dance studios, the daycares, etc. 350 cases on April 30, six weeks after implementing the tried and true rituals and measures. 118 cases on July 23, six weeks after implementing phase 2 of the “reopening”.
    Any outbreaks in hospitals currently?
    Regardless, a tiny portion of the population sick with Covid, an even tinier portion in hospital, and an even tinier portion in ICU, in numbers that are consistent with annual respiratory ailment rates.
    War on Drugs, War on Terror, War on Covid. If this isn’t it, what will “jumping the shark” look like for this worn-out idiom?

  4. Murphy

    July 25th, 2020

    Apparently it’s trolling to point to the official figures which show that the array of unprecedented rituals and massively harmful socioeconomic were enacted based on projected infection figures that were wrong by a factor of 900%. The disease is in fact so insidious in its deadliness that today the mortality case rate for the 30-39 age group dropped to zero. But that’s just trolling, right?
    Meanwhile, every Kon austerity wet dream will come to pass because we accepted the crippling of the economy in the name of saving ourselves from a panic. But I’m just a psychopathic troll pulling figures out of my ass, right?

    • Murphy

      July 25th, 2020

      I posted the above while riding in a truck, on my phone, and there is a glaring inaccuracy in the figure I quoted. Alberta Health’s modellers were wrong in their estimation of Covid spread, which they announced three weeks into the dismantling of society, by 12351%. The low projected case figure, which was declared “probable”, was 800 000 cases by mid-May. The number turned out to be 6477. Their elevated scenarios involved totals of 1 million to 1.6 million infections.
      Literally everything that came from Alberta Health was wrong, and massively wrong. These people demonstrated a complete failure to understand the properties of Covid. Given this comprehensive and absolute failure, I am left as comprehensively bewildered by the continued acceptance of the unprecedented socio-economic measures, measures for which there is no body of supporting scientific evidence, and measures which are not minor inconvencies but rather extremely harmful invasions of every aspect of life in this province.
      They said we would have a low figure of 800 000 infections at the “peak” in mid-May. We had 6477.
      They said there would be a peak in Mid-May. The highest daily total occurred on April 30.
      They said that when this peak came, there would be a total of 400 to 3100 deaths in the most likely scenario, but possibly as many as 32 000. There were under 150 deaths in Mid-May.
      They said that the probable “peak” of hospitalizations would be 736 to 900. The highest total ever was 93 on April 30, although we will likely see that exceeded given that they have managed to have outbreaks inside of at least two hospitals.
      They said that there would be 220 to 244 people in ICU at the “peak”. The highest figure reached was 22.
      Until somebody can prove otherwise, my contention is that the mortality figures are completely incomprehensible due to confounding variables, but it is beyond question that a whole bunch of people were mistreated because of the panic, which was based on unimaginably ridiculous projections. Every single senior should have been given the same treatment that they would have received in ordinary circumstances, and they did not. So the panic definitely directly killed some. Given who has died, specifically the very old and very ill, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that significant numbers of the dead were people who would be dead now with or without Covid. And given who has died, it is likewise dead certain that some institutionalized, very ill, very elderly people were stressed to death because the routines on which their lives were based were completely disrupted, in the name of guarding against a fantastical threat.
      And now, with fatality case rates that are in decline in every single age group except those over seventy, infection, hospitalization and ICU rates far below any projected figures, by factors ranging from 300% to 12000%, it is absolutely imperative that everyone wear masks and that we continue to sacrifice the well-being of the entire society.
      Somebody, please, take a stab at explaining why we are accepting any recommendations, rules, guidelines or laws from people who clearly had no idea what they were dealing with, and much less what they were doing in response to it.
      Although a psychopathic, manipulating troll, I nevertheless can admit when I’m wrong. Try counting the days until Deena Hinshaw announces, in no uncertain terms, that every single ritual, every single closure, was enacted based on projections that were so wrong as to be indistinguishable from the ramblings of Dutch Schultz on his death bed. The entire response to Covid is gaslighting. It only increases as the magnitude of the failure of authorities at every level becomes more apparent and the energy devoted to denying this expands at a similar rate.

  5. Just Me

    July 25th, 2020

    At some point, when you insult enough people, you begin insulting your fans.

    This has always been the UCP’s dilemma: their intentions of ideological scorched earth would eventually affect those who supported them, like doctors. Now that the doctors has been thoroughly insulted, they’ve packed up their cheque books and their practises for more favourable places.

    It’s reached that point where the pool is getting thinner. Only the oil and gas industry will give the UCP a dime, and they have fewer dimes to hand over these days.

    The race to the bottom is on.


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