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