"Great turnout, 1500 people!" That's what provincial Liberal communications director Chad Pederson tweeted last week about the party's annual Dinner Under the Sails fundraiser. But it turns out that turnout wasn't so great when you look at the number of tickets purchased for the dinner from 2001 onward.
According to party financial reports filed with Elections British Columbia, the high-water mark was the 2,128 tickets purchased in 2002 - just after the Liberals swept to power. But that number has steadily decreased, with the steepest drop happening between 2006 and 2007 when the tickets purchased went from 1,856 to 1,566.
That could have something to do with an increase in their modal price - which stood at $250 in 2001 and is now $350. After all, if the price had only kept pace with inflation, supporters would be able to attend the Dinner Under the Sails for $296.52. And the recession could be causing contributors to stay at home.
But might the Liberals' tumbling poll numbers also be to blame? Well, we tried to get a hold of Mr. Pederson earlier today to ask him that question. However, at publication time, he hadn't returned our phone call. The following is a complete copy of the number of Dinner Under the Sails tickets sold since 2001.
Number of Dinner Under the Sails tickets sold, price range and modal price
Dinner Under the Sails 2010 - 1,500 ($350)*
Vancouver Convention Centre Dinner 2009 - 1,519 ($350 - $375, $350)
Dinner Under the Sails 2008 - 1,566 ($350, $350)
Dinner Under the Sails 2007 - 1,865 ($299 - $500, $299)
Dinner Under the Sails 2006 - 1,911 ($60 - $300, $289)
Dinner Under the Sails 2005 - 2,064 ($299 - $300, $299)
Dinner Under the Sails 2004 - 1,929 ($294.50 - 300, $299)
Dinner Under the Sails 2003 - 2,122 ($299 - $315, $299)
Dinner Under the Sails 2002 - 2,128 ($257 - $267, $267)
Dinner Under the Sails 2001 - 1,902 ($54.12 - $250, $250)
* = Official Elections British Columbia filing for this event not yet available.