The best democracy money can buy

Money from British Columbia unions may have only accounted for 32 percent or $1.9 million of the provincial New Democrat's election contributions. But, according to documents released by Elections British Columbia yesterday, the labour movement also ran election period advertising valued at $3.5 million, with 44 percent of those expenditures coming from the British Columbia Teachers' Federation and local teachers' association. On top of that, the unions also bankrolled a number of grassroots organizations with agendas opposed to Campbell administration policies. For example, the Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of British Columbia, which spent $86,032.80 on advertising, received $63,400 in contributions from the labour movement, including a $41,500 chunk from the British Columbia Federation of Labour.

But the business community - which can usually be counted on to support the Liberals - was also an active advertiser during the election period, with industry groups and corporations kicking in $953,529.69 - a number that excludes their pre-writ advertising campaign but includes a $612,100.04 contribution from the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of British Columbia. Advertising dollars from businesses were also funneled into organizations such as the Comox Valley Association for Good Government and the Friends of Vancouver Islanders, which advocated for Liberal MLAs. Other documents released yesterday show corporate donations accounted for 70 percent of the Liberal's election contributions or $7.9 million. A version of this article was originally published in today's edition of 24 hours. The following is a complete list of third parties whose advertising activities were valued at more than $250.


Corporations and industry groups

British Columbia and Yukon Chamber of Mines: $19,633.75
British Columbia Metals Corporation: $7,481.38
Business Council of British Columbia: $89,915.00
Concerned Construction Companies of Kamloops: $19,551.58
Concerned Leaders of British Columbia's High Tech and Biotech Industries: $22,852.94
Cunningham and Rivard Appraisals Ltd.: $635.58
First Dollar Alliance Society: $8,303.40
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of British Columbia: $612,100.04
Mining Association of British Columbia: $160,000.00
Pacific Western Brewing Co. Ltd.: $13,056.02

Total: $953,529.69

Teachers' associations

British Columbia Teachers' Federation: $874,964.14
Boundary District Teachers' Association: $3,782.91
Bulkley Valley Teachers' Union: $8,327.41
Burnaby Teachers' Association: $45,155.21
Burns Lake District Teachers' Association: $8,984.42
Campbell River District Teachers' Association: $6,946.49
Cariboo-Chilcotin Teachers' Association: $8,244.36
Central Coast Teachers' Association: $2,042.10
Central Okanagan Teachers' Association: $17,304.68
Chilliwack Teachers' Association: $4,559.72
Comox District Teachers' Association: $12,153.69
Coqutilam Teachers Association: $1,588.34
Cowichan District Teachers' Association: $6,784.26
Cranbrook District Teachers' Association: $6,004.78
Creston Valley Teachers' Association: $4,888.61
Delta Teachers' Association: $25,959.82
Fernie District Teachers' Association: $4,131.79
Fort Nelson District Teachers' Association: $6,310.37
Gold Trail Teachers' Association: $539.92
Golden Teachers' Association: $2,116.80
Greater Victoria Teachers' Association: $40,647.57
Gulf Island Teachers' Association: $900.64
Howe Sound Teachers' Association: $2,617.11
Kamloops Thompson Teachers' Association: $28,008.78
Kimberley Teachers' Association: $4,234.60
Kitimat District Teachers' Association: $4,268.72
Kootenay Columbia Teachers' Union: $10,314.81
Lake Cowichan Teachers' Association: $1,245.09
Langley Teachers' Association: $19,007.84
Maple Ridge Teachers' Association: $5,219.58
Mission Teachers' Union: $7,069.08
Mount Arrowsmith Teachers' Association: $4,395.91
Nanaimo District Teachers' Association: $3,897.41
Nechako Teachers' Union: $3,042.03
Nelson District Teachers' Association: $6,025.65
New Westminster Teachers' Union: $1,961.22
Nicola Valley Teachers' Union: $2,478.58
Nisga'a Teachers' Union: $5,004.54
North Okanagan Shuswap Teachers' Association: $7,747.00
North Vancouver Teachers' Association: $25,646.00
Okanagan Skaha Teachers' Union: $11,629.00
Peace River North Teachers' Association: $3,550.00
Peace River South Teachers' Association: $5,535.69
Powell River District Teachers' Association: $10,522.72
Prince Rupert District Teachers' Union: $14,087.24
Princeton District Teachers' Union: $6,712.57
Queen Charlotte District Teachers' Association: $9,662.00
Quesnel District Teachers' Association: $7,512.52
Revelstoke Teachers' Association: $3,468.41
Richmond Teachers' Association: $21,585.00
Saanich Teachers' Association: $12,134.57
Sooke Teachers' Association: $14,225.99
South Okanagan Similkameen Teachers' Union: $10,803.00
Stikine Teachers' Association: $5,378.34
Sunshine Coast Teachers' Association: $4,813.34
Surrey Teachers' Association: $48,044.29
Terrace District Teachers' Union: $16,646.53
Vancouver Elementary School Teachers' Association: $20,958.00
Vancouver Island North Teachers' Association: $5,469.08
Vancouver Island West Teachers' Union: $5,597.52
Vancouver Secondary Teachers' Association: $7,949.00
Vernon Teachers' Association: $14,127.00
West Vancouver Teachers' Association: $18,561.02
Windermere District Teachers' Association: $3,312.11

Total: $1,516,806.92


B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers' Union: $45,962.00
B.C. Government and Service Employees Union: $431,250.80
B.C. Federation of Labour: $113,547.44
British Columbia Nurses Union: $257,282.00
Canadian Farmworkers' Union: $535.00
Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Local 378: $148,614.00
Canadian Union of Public Employees: $56,416.40
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers' Union: $4,700.80
Compensation Employees' Union: $589.25
Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of B.C.: $209,602.00
Health Sciences Association of British Columbia: $112,531.55
Hospital Employees' Union: $549,760.92
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 138: $4,405.00
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 2009: $4,405.00
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 1527: $4,405.00
Kamloops and District Labour Council: $5,929.94
Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada: $2,691.00
Squamish and District Labour Committee: $639.60
Steelworkers District 3 Local 1-85: $1,890.96
United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 1518: $12,750.22
United Steelworkers District 3: $16,863.00

Total: $1,984,771.88
Total (including teachers' associations): $3,501,578.80

Other advertising sponsors

B.C. Citizens for Public Power: $12,867.12
B.C. Health Coalition: $4,394.68
British Columbia Old Age Pensioners Organization: $338.62
Broad Coalition: $1,233.41
Citizens to Re-Elect Graham Bruce: $651.15
Comox Valley Association for Good Government: $14,505.74
Community Action for Justice Coalition: $2,906.33
Community Business and Professional Association of Canada: $11,310.00
Conservation Voters of British Columbia: $1,890.12
Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of British Columbia: $86,032.80
Creston and District Save Our Community Coalition: $2,486.00
Elk Valley and South Country Health Care Coalition: $2,910.71
Friends of Mike Hunter: $9,070.13
Friends of Vancouver Islanders: $7,697.50
Raincoast Conservation Society: $6,859.50
Right to Privacy Campaign: $8,093.00


Thanks for the thorough job of reporting all the donations to the NDP, both direct and indirect.

Do you think you can do the same for the Liberal donations?

Aunty Bertha

Yes, Sean, I'll second Auntie B's request.

So far, we've got $1.9 (direct) + $3.5 (indirect) from the unions, for a total of $5.4 million.

On the business side, we've got $??? (direct) + $1 mill (indirect), for a total of $???.

And is it assumed that all union dollars were pro-NDP, while all business dollars were pro-Liberal? (...which says something rather sad about the blunt simplicity of BC politics...)

Also, was pre-writ advertising from either faction significant, or is there no way of getting an accurate count?

I too would like to see a [I]balanced[/I] approach to this bit o' info.

Paul Wilcox seems to have a bit to say on the subject...

Aunty Bertha

The BC Liberals have claimed many times that the BC Teachers Federation alone spent $5 million on this election, trying to defeat the almighty Liberal Party. I have heard one or two teachers making similar claims, though the BCTF President Jinny Sims denied the accuracy of this figure.

Now, ... if the overall total spent by labour was $3.5 million, how can that accommodate a figure of $5 million from the BCTF alone???

The answer, my dear Budd, is pre-writ spending which isn't accounted for at all. Only spending during the 28-day writ period. The unions spent millions before the campaign even began and the BC Business Council did their endorsement advetising entirely before the drop of the writ as well.

And how about all those "B.C....Best Place In The Whole Damn World" ads the taxpayers footed the bill for all last year. Shouldn't that count somewhere in the Liberal's total?

Well if John English is right, and there is no accounting for pre-writ spending, then we will never, ever know which side spent the most, or by what margin. Is that the situation???

I really don't think the elections act follows third party advertising expenses until the writ drops. We'll never know, but it seems pretty clear that, outside "government" tv ads, the NDP spent far, far more than the Liberals on TV ads. There is about $3-4 million to make up. I hate that we're turning into Americans that way.

Typical right-wing media not to disclose what big business/corporations donated to the Liberals.

Sean = Liberal ass kisser, right-wing punk.

Direct contributions to political parties must be declared whether pre-writ or during the writ. Indeed, the political parties file yearly reports and special reports for things like byelections and recall campaigns. There aren't contribution limits or spending limits pre-writ. During the writ period, there is specific provision requiring that third party spending be reported and there are spending limits during the writ period for the political parties. The Elections BC website has all sorts of interesting links to reports from previous years, legislation, etc. Check it out at Needless to say, I have the website bookmarked.

Now come on people. You're being too hard on Mr. Holman. Let's face it, this site has been somewhat lagging in actual content (other than fishwrapper "who's going where and with who") and quality journalism since Mr. Holman came back from the clutches of Canworst Gliberal. You can't expect the guy to be rid of his CanWorst Gliberal biasness in such a short period of time.

Let's face it, people. According to the authors on this site, it's perfectly fine for both the LiarsClub... err BC Liberals and their supporters to totally blow their wad on 3rd party advertising, blowing sunshine up everyone's ass about how great things are in BC and how the Big Bad NDP and Big Bad Union people are going to tear it all apart crap, but its not ok for the labour movement, not only defend itself against that kind of BS but also to attack the people who love policies of the Fiberal's OPEN(for business.. BC is FOR SALE) and ACCOUNTABLE (to NO ONE who lives in BC, only to foreign multinationals).

Frankly, I rarely come here, and even more rarely post here, because frankly this site has gone more Enquirer... than Inquirer. Yawn Bore Snore.

Kegler--for someone who rarely comes to this site, how is that you've managed to make at least 2 posts in the last 2 days?

Regardless, to me it still points to the same solution- the rules should be changed- no more political donations from unions or corporations-only private citizens- the ones who actually vote.

say no more
nudge nudge
wink wink

Mr. Holman, a former government communications advisor, has previously written for The Globe and Mail and the Wall Street Journal's Dow Jones News Service.

Senior columnist George Gibault, a political consultant and Public Eye Online's resident polymath. Mr. Gibault was director of caucus research under Premier Bill Vander Zalm's government and an advisor and speechwriter to Prime Minister Kim Campbell.

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