BC NDP donor reluctance

People professing to be former BC NDP supporters say they stopped financial contributions and/or resigned after disagreeing with policies imposed by party leaders. I trust many of these statements are true but wondered if financial reports filed with Elections BC offer evidence of growing NDP donor reluctance.

Indications exist but they are disputable. In 2018, the Horgan government implemented new rules, meaning that parties could only take money from individuals, not from organizations or businesses. We must be cautious in comparing reports drawn from years with different rules and circumstances.

Another factor is that elections motivate donors to provide money specifically for campaigns. So election year 2020 is best compared to 2017. The numbers charted below are from BC NDP Annual Financial Reports.

The difference might be partly explained because, instead of BC Liberals, Horgan’s NDP was in charge of partisan government advertising, public expense accounts, and other government spending in 2020, a fact that reduced the need to pester party members for campaign funds, as had to be done in 2017. The drop-off is 11% but would be 15% if constant dollars were used.

A somewhat larger degree of donor reluctance is shown by comparing non-election years 2021 and 2019, although only nine months have been reported for the current year through quarterly reports submitted by the provincial party.

The drop-off is 20% but would be 24% if constant dollars were used.

These numbers suggest the BC NDP is experiencing a material reduction in financial support from individuals, contrary to the expected when a party gains power after years in the political wilderness. A rise to power usually reaffirms dedication of existing followers and attracts new individuals who find it useful to be associated with power.

The pandemic that was raging in 2020 may have affected political fundraising in BC although that effect cannot be known.

However, combined with anecdotal reports of disaffection, reports that have accelerated in recent months, I conclude Horgan government policies offend many of the people who have long given strength to the NDP.

Withdrawal of financial support would not be the only result. A small leadership core may make all important decisions but smooth operation of a political party depends on volunteers. When honest and caring citizens depart as party members, we know the sort of people left behind in stronger positions.

As I wrote elsewhere:

Q: When principled people leave a political party, who is left behind?

A: Hyper-partisans, ass-kissers, self-interested opportunists and the thoroughly corrupt.

Categories: NDP BC

10 replies »

  1. Norm, I am one of the long-time NDP supporters who has stopped sending what little I could to the Party, specifically over environmental policies and the tacit support of the oil and natural gas industry. What your article does not mention, and is probably more important than the money, is the plain and simple fact that I have also stopped volunteering my time (usually . . several hundred hours over and election period). That alone is going to severely cost the Party more than any money I ever gave them, and I know that I am not the only one who has done that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would echo what Barry English said about not only my donations but my time is going elsewhere.
    Guess where?
    Yep. Provincial Greens. Because of Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen.
    I would like to see the graph on former NDPers going Green when that is possible.
    Thank you for keeping on keeping on.


  3. Ditto for me.

    I used to donate $1000-2000 during provincial campaigns, mostly to individual candidates that I liked. Now, I send in $10 a year just to maintain a membership, more out of habit than anything else. This guarantees a steady flow of fundraising emails and “surveys” to which I occasionally reply with whatever snark I can muster. Instead, I send the money to groups like RAVEN which fund the fight against Site C and other atrocities. But I agree that the rot of the volunteer base will be even more damaging in the long-run.

    In my interior riding, I’m struck by the dramatic shrinkage since the ’90s, when the NDP was getting around 40% of the vote and could elect MLAs vs. now when the popular vote is in the mid-20s. Then – hundreds of volunteers on E-Day – vs. now – a token amount of canvassing in a small number of the best polls. It reminded me of what it was like in a local campaign in an Alberta riding in a federal election back in the ’70s! Sad.

    It was pathetic when I recently received emails imploring any of us to volunteer to fill out a constituency association executive. I politely declined. I know all these people, and want to stay on friendly terms, because they are, after all, decent people, who just happen to have more loyalty to some imagined/remembered institution than I can muster. The party, at least in this region, has shrunk to a labour-supported rump, seasoned with a sprinkling of niche identity politics advocates.

    What’s also striking is that all of NDP’s most dubious pet projects in the hinterland – Site C, fracking expansion, CGL, LNG – get them exactly zero benefit in the ridings where the projects are being built. So it’s not even crass vote-buying!

    Like other late-stage social democratic parties, the BC NDP is just so terrified of its own shadow, petrified of being tagged as the “party of No”, and just wetting themselves with joy if Vaughan Palmer tosses them a bone now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Like others above, I too have withdrawn my volunteer time in support of my preferred party. I never gave a lot of cash anyway… but that is now down to a minimum, as well.

    Those who care to ‘maybe’ bump the party’s rudder are welcome to respond to their survey at https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6633361/BC-NDP-End-of-Year-Survey-2021?source=20211208_EML_SUR_3_SRV_AK_BCNDP_EN_ACTIVE

    In addition to basic buttons to click on, you get some write-in opportunities as well. I blasted them on Site C and LNG but gave them positives on the COVID file and a few others.

    Thank you, Norm, for keeping the fires going. (Carbon-neutral, of course!) I’ll be sending a donation soon.


  5. I have never been a member of the NDP, but I have been involved with candidates doing research on local platforms. I have stopped this long ago and from what i hear from former paid members is that they are letting their memberships lapse and stopped funding.

    It is interesting is that the NDP is bombarding Facebook with ads looking for donations and i would assume that other areas of donations are lagging.

    I do think Horgan is in trouble and until we see who the Liberals come up with as leader, all bets are off. A moderate BC Liberal leader, I think, would crush Horgan.


  6. All of them. Bought and corrupted.

    I have never donated to a political party – why should I start now?

    political shenanigans by all parties are sufficient for a person to question the very premise of “democracy”.

    …although it is the least bad system – I paraphrase.


  7. After moving to the North Shore in 1975, ‘my’ NDP candidates, Greens too, never won, whether it was Federal or Provincial elections. The current provincial MLA has now won twice, and I have no complaints to offer here especially when looking back at the BC Liberals of Campbell, Clark and Wilkinson.


  8. Mark me down as one whose “anecdotal reports of disaffection” are not so ancecdotal any more.

    Of particular frustration is my good local MLAs who take whipping without a whimper. I did not vote for someone who was going to keep the likes of Fazil Mihlar and other Christy Campbell operatives in gainful employment…..or make FOI’s even harder to get.

    There should not even be FOI’s…….we should just be able to look up anything we want or make a phone call. It is our money and our province. I got more information from the California Energy Commission about our lake draining ruin of river IPP’s in a 15 minute cold phone call than I did with 10 years of writing to BC officials (of any party).


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