Which MLAs aren’t team players?

In my experience in nonprofit fundraising, there’s a common theme that members of the Board of Directors, and often even staff, ought to lead by example when it comes to donating to the organization.

The theory is that those with the closest connection should not only be giving their time but also opening their wallets. It’s easier to ask others to give when you’re already giving yourself.

There’s no reason the same shouldn’t hold true for political parties, particularly when those parties face increasing restrictions on who can donate, and how much they can give.

So it makes sense that a party would want, and even expect, it’s elected officials to give the maximum amount every year to the party. The same often holds true for high-ranking staff members. Given MLAs make over $100,000 (plus any additional top ups for those with specific roles), finding a spare $1200 shouldn’t be too onerous. For reference the median household income in BC in 2015 was only $69,995.

Digging through Elections BC’s Financial Reports and Political Contributions System, we can use each party’s 2018 annual returns to see which MLAs donated the maximum, and which MLAs didn’t.

MLA donations

From the records, we can see the NDP are far ahead of the other parties at ensuring their MLAs are donating the max, with half maxing their contributions in 2018. The Liberals saw exactly half of their MLAs do the same and none of the three BC Green MLAs broke $1000 in donations.

Only those individuals who gave more than $250 in a calendar year are publicly disclosed. The NDP’s George Chow and Leonard Krog*, Green’s Adam Olsen and Liberal’s Teresa Wat and Dan Ashton don’t appear on the returns, meaning each donated between nothing and $249 to their party in 2018. The BC NDP’s Gary Begg also only donated $350 and BC Liberals Ellis Ross, Dan Davies, Ian Paton and Jordan Sturdy all donated under $500.

Among the party leaders, Andrew Weaver donated $725 to the Greens (less than Sonia Furstenau’s $909), Andrew Wilkinson donated $950 and John Horgan contributed the maximum $1200.

Addendum: I missed a couple of other noteworthy politicians in the initial analysis above.

Speaker Darryl Plecas hasn’t donated more than $250 since 2016, when he contributed $785 total. He was a member of the Liberal caucus until August 2017 when he accepted the role of Speaker.

*Leonard Krog, the former NDP MLA who resigned when he was elected Mayor of Nanaimo, is last on record donating to the party in August 2016, months prior to the provincial election.

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