Jason Kenney's Calgary Southeast riding no longer pulling in out-of-province cash

According to the latest financial reports filed with Elections Canada, Employment Minister Jason Kenney's Calgary Southeast electoral district association (EDA) netted just $67,149 in donations last year - a drop of more than $125,000 from last year's haul. Kady O'Malley crunches the numbers.
Jason Kenney (left) Canada's Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism stands on stage with a Chinese opera performer during a Chinese New Year celebration on Sunday February 17, 2013. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

The man who would be — and, indeed, was, for a time — king of the local Conservative fundraising circuit may be in serious danger of forfeiting his crown.

According to the latest financial reports filed with Elections Canada, Employment Minister Jason Kenney's Calgary Southeast electoral district association (EDA) netted just $67,149 in donations last year.

That's a drop of $128,361 from the previous year, when Kenney's riding reported the second-highest income of any EDA in the country, with a total haul of $195,510.17.

The number of donors declined as well  — from 951 in 2012, to just 455 in 2013, of which just 93 gave more than $200, compared to 230 who did so in 2012.

Notably, all but a handful of this year's contributors hailed from the Calgary area, including more than 40 local supporters who attended the minister's 'Spring Breakfast' at the Calgary Carriage House on May 17th.

That's in sharp contrast to the geographic breakdown of Kenney's donor base in previous years.

From 2007 to 2012, Kenney's riding raked in nearly $150,000 from outside his home province, including more than $93,000 from Toronto-area Chinese Canadians, augmented by the occasional burst of donations from other GTA South Asian ethnic communities, usually clustered around a single date.

That particular revenue stream appears to have dried up, at least for the moment.

Of the few non-Albertan contributors on the 2013 statement, none appear to be associated with the Toronto Chinese Canadian — or, for that matter, any other ethnic or cultural — community, although Kenney's riding may still have received smaller donations from that once dependable source.

Elections Canada doesn't require associations to publicly disclose the names of supporters who kick in less than $200 to the cause.

As local donations slide, party still leads the pack

Calgary Southeast wasn't the only Conservative riding association on last year's top ten list to see a drop in donations in 2013.

After pulling in more than $100,000 during a hotly contested nomination race in advance of last year's byelection, Calgary Centre took in just $15,050 in 2013.

Even in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's stomping grounds of Calgary Southwest, the local Conservative riding association reported a modest dip in donations, from $102,466 to $94,521.

Outside the Alberta heartland, Don Valley West saw its annual numbers fall from $136,801.51 to $81,795.00, which resulted in a drop from 4th to 8th place in the overall rankings, while contributions to Maxime Bernier's home riding of Beauce plunged by nearly half, from $90,782 in 2012 to just $45,905, which knocked him off of the list entirely.

Conservative Party spokesman Cory Hann takes a pragmatic approach to the numnbers.

"Our EDAs are made up of hard-working volunteers who are especially driven during an election," he pointed out by email.

"That's why fundraising for EDAs is often highest during an election year, and decreases in non-election years. You can see this same trend with other parties."

Even so, he pointed out that Conservative riding associations are "also out-fundraising their Liberal counterparts."

As of Monday, 285 Conservative ridings had reported $3,547,167.73 in contributions, compared to $2,214,842.05 and $1,212,532.10 from 260 Liberal, and 290 NDP riding associations, respectively.

At press time, just three non-Conservative riding associations have managed to crack this year's top ten list so far, with the Scarborough Agincourt Liberal association once again taking the top slot with a jaw-dropping reported haul of $206,814, with the Toronto Centre New Democrat and Liberal camps coming a distant second and third after raking in the proceeds from last fall's byelections.

Meanwhile, new additions to the top ten list include Mark Adler's riding of York Centre, which more than doubled its revenue from $38,622 in 2012 to $91,969.20 in 2013, and Labour Minister Kellie Leitch's local association in Simcoe Grey, which took in $91,478 in 2013, up from $61,660 in 2012.