Gallant raised $205K for Liberal leadership campaign

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant raised and spent nearly $205,000 during his leadership campaign last fall, figures released on Monday reveal.

Liberal party calling for disclosure to become law in New Brunswick, as it is federally

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant raised nearly $205,000 during his leadership campaign last fall, figures released on Monday reveal. 1:38

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant raised and spent nearly $205,000 during his leadership campaign last fall, figures released on Monday reveal.

It is the first time in the New Brunswick Liberal party's history the leadership campaign donor list has been made public.

The Opposition Liberals are now calling for such disclosure to become law in New Brunswick, as it is federally.

"I think the culture has changed and maybe when the [Election] Act was written maybe there wasn't huge public interest in donations made to leadership campaigns, but we think that has changed," said party executive director Ellen Creighton.

The donors include a long list of Liberal party supporters — about 300 people and 100 businesses.

About $118,000 of the donations came from private individuals, while about 68,000 came from corporations, many of which do substantial business with the provincial government. Nearly $18,000 was in-kind.

Miramichi psychiatrist Dr. Sanjay Siddhartha, who has been a vocal critic of the Alward government's treatment of the Miramichi hospital, was the biggest individual contributor, giving $6,000.

That is the maximum contribution limit the party set for the leadership race to mimic provincial election laws.

The biggest corporate donor was Wilson Brook Holdings, also at the $6,000 maximum.

Gallant also paid $6,000 of his own travel expenses, but that was not a cash donation.

Board voted to release list

The New Brunswick Liberal Association's board of directors decided last month to release the campaign figures in the interest of transparency.

Gallant spoke in favour of donor disclosure during that meeting, but was not present when the vote was taken, according to a statement issued by the party at the time.

The rules for the leadership race, adopted by the party in 2011, said the party would consider requests from the public for access to financial donations to leadership candidates. The party received at least three requests to release the information.

NDP Leader Dominic Cardy said the Liberals "deserve some credit."

Cardy has been calling for full disclosure of leadership donations for months and says having the Liberals onside should help make it law.

"If they're willing to be partners on party reform in New Brunswick, we're happy to have all the help we can get," he said.

In 2005, the Commission on Legislative Democracy recommended leadership campaign expenses be capped at $300,000 and donors could not contribute more than $3,000 in total to one or more leadership contestants.

The commission recommended the disclosure be required for all leadership contestants who accepted contributions or had expenses of more than $1,000.

The commission's recommendations were never implemented.

Elections New Brunswick regulates party fundraising in the province. The rules do not currently apply to campaigns or conventions related to party leaderships.

Some of the donorsAmount
Beausejour MP Dominic Leblanc$500
Former Saint John MP Paul Zed$1,200
MLA Bill Fraser$2,600
MLA Bernard LeBlanc$500
MLA Bertrand LeBlanc$500
MLA Rick Doucet$250
Former MLA Evérard Daigle$200
Former premier Camille Thériault$1,500
Former premier Raymond Frenette$500
Former Graham cabinet minister Carmel Robichaud$500
Former Graham cabinet minister Rick Miles$500
Former Graham cabinet minister T.J. Burke$300
Former Graham cabinet minister Jack Keir$250
Former Graham cabinet minister Roly McIntyre$250
Former Graham cabinet minister Mary Schryer$200

Former McKenna cabinet minister Aldea Landry

Former McKenna cabinet minister Gerald Clavette$500
Former McKenna cabinet minister Georgie Day$500
Former McKenna cabinet minister Doug Tyler$500
Former McKenna cabinet minister Jim Lockyer$300
Former McKenna cabinet minister Joan Kingston$300
Former McKenna cabinet minister Allan Maher$200
Former McKenna deputy minister Francis McGuire$500
James Irving$500
John Herron$150
Allison Whitehead$600