The BC Liberal Party has long raised more money than the New Democrats, mostly from corporations. However, for the first time in recent years, the governing Liberals raised more money from individual donors than its opposition rival did.
That's bad news for the NDP, said David Schreck, a pundit and former NDP MLA. "If they are raising less from individuals, they better start worrying," he said. "The NDP, given those numbers, has to worry big time."
Schreck was commenting on the fact that the New Democrats have traditionally raised more money than the Liberals from individual donors. But in 2014, the year following the NDP's defeat in the provincial election, the tables turned.
Annual Financial Reports for 2014 that the two parties filed with Elections BC became public April 8. They show that the Liberals raised nearly $4 million from individuals last year, while the NDP raised about $2.7 million.
That's a reversal from past years. In the 2013 election year, individuals gave the NDP $6.23 million, significantly more than the $4.6 million individuals gave the Liberals.
And in 2012, individuals gave $4.2 million to the NDP and $3.9 million to the Liberals.
The NDP did not respond to a request for a comment by publication time.
The decline in political contributions from individuals to the NDP was in line with an overall drop in donations to the party. While donors gave the party $11.5 million in the 2013 election year, that collapsed to $3.2 million in 2014.
The Liberals also saw a decline, but a smaller one. Donations of $14.1 million in 2013 fell to $10.1 million in 2014.
"It doesn't surprise me contributions would be down," Schreck said. "When it was anticipated the NDP would form the government, it was a whole lot easier to fundraise."
Many NDP donors are also on the list for the federal NDP, which is aggressively raising money ahead of the election scheduled for October, he said. "I get at least four emails a day."
The Green Party of BC raised $298,075 in 2014, up from $233,350 a year earlier.
Corporations gave $5.2 million to the BC Liberals and $133,327 to the NDP in 2014. Meanwhile, trade unions gave $385,021 to the NDP and $6,804 to the Liberals.
Some of the top donors to the BC Liberals included Teck Resources Limited ($140,000), Teck Highland Valley Copper Corp. ($100,000), Shape Properties Corp. ($100,000), Encana Corporation ($106,000), Dayhu Capital Ltd. ($60,000) and Merab Holdings Inc. ($50,000).
Individuals giving donations of $50,000 each included Yu Wen, Peter Redekop, Rosy Yanjing Shang, Hong Wang and David Sidoo. Shi Yu Liu, Shu Min Wu, Ruoxiong Wang and Guifang Zhu each gave around $30,000.
Lobbyist Patrick Kinsella gave $34,000, of which $300 was a personal donation and the rest was through his companies Progressive Strategies Ltd. and Progressive Holdings Ltd. Mark Jiles gave $20,770, most of it through Bluestar Consulting Inc.
David Radler, who was convicted of fraud and spent 10 months in jail in 2008, gave the Liberals $21,250 personally and $50,000 as an officer for the Canadian Classified Network.
Francesco Aquilini, Aquilini Investment Group LP and Aquilini Development and Construction Inc. gave a combined total of $53,650.
Some top donors to the NDP included the BCGEU ($140,000), Wayne Shalagan ($100,000), the United Steelworkers ($54,000, including head office and various locals) and various CUPE affiliates ($40,000).
Premier Christy Clark does not appear to have donated to the Liberal Party, but NDP leader John Horgan gave $1,275 to his party.
The BC Conservative Party collected just over $82,000 in donations in 2014.*
*Story corrected April 9, 10:20 a.m. A previous version incorrectly said the BC Conservative Party had not yet filed its 2014 Annual Financial Report.