British Columbia

B.C. Liberals bring in nearly $8M in corporate donations in 2016

Figures provided by the B.C Liberals show it raised $7.98 million in corporate donations and $4.49 million in individual donations in 2016. The party did not release the amount of union donations it received.

Donations released early by Liberals also show party brought in nearly $4.5 million from individuals

The Christy Clark led B.C. Liberals raised nearly $12.5 million in individual and corporate donations in 2016. (B.C. Liberals)

With an election around the corner, the B.C. Liberals are showing off their war chest. The party has preemptively released its 2016 fundraising numbers, well before the March 31, 2017 deadline to file the information with Elections BC.

Figures provided by the party show it raised $7.98 million in corporate donations and $4.49 million in individual donations in 2016. The party did not release the amount of union donations it received, but those figures have been filed with Elections BC. 

The $12.47 million total is significantly higher than the $10.1 million the B.C. Liberals raised in 2012 during the build-up to the 2013 B.C. provincial election. 

In 2013, the last election year, the Liberals raised $14.04 million in corporate and individual donations combined. 

"Our party is funded by a broad, diverse coalition of British Columbians who support our efforts to build a strong economy that allows us to look after the people we love," said party president Sharon White in a statement. 

Clark cleared of conflict of interest

Premier Christy Clark has been under scrutiny to provide more disclosure on who is attending private fundraisers that cost as much as $10,000 a person. Conflict of Interest Commissioner Paul Fraser looked into the matter but ruled it wasn't a conflict.

Amid questions about exclusive fundraisers, Clark promised to improve the way the B.C. Liberals disclose fundraising figures to the public.

NDP MLA David Eby delivers a complaint against Premier Christy Clark to the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner on April 27, 2016. (Richard Zussman/CBC)

The party will now disclose who donated and how much about every two weeks on the party's website.

But it says even though corporate donations were nearly double individual donations in 2016, the overall number of individual donors has gone up. During the last year, 9,324 individuals donated to the B.C. Liberal Party, while 1,876 corporations sent money to the party.

"Since Christy Clark became party leader, we've made a focused effort to grow our base of grassroots donors, including individuals and small businesses," said White in the statement.

The B.C. NDP has sent an email to supporters, celebrating raising $412,629 online during its December fundraising drive.

Both the NDP and the BC Green Party have called for a ban on union and corporate donations. 

Official numbers raised by all provincial political parties will be released by Elections BC in April.