Yesterday's post provoked an interesting question on Facebook. I presented a graph showing that corporate donations go mostly to the party in power and the major recipient party switched from Liberals to PCs when the government changed in 2003. But did the PCs win the 2003 election because they received more donations, or did they start receiving more donations because they won (or were expected to win)?
First observe that the PCs saw an uptick in donations in 2002, the year before the election. My guess is that businesses sensed which way the wind was blowing and began hedging their bets by donating to both parties. Unfortunately, I can't find good polling data from those days to determine at what point a PC victory became likely, so it is tough to make any inference based on expectations at the time.
However here is another test. If businesses were simply supporting their preferred party in 2003, then you would expect some businesses to donate to the Liberals, some to the PCs, but not very many to support both. On the other hand, if businesses are trying to curry favour with government, then you would expect most businesses to donate to both parties in order to hedge their bets.
Here is the data. I've included all companies that donated $10K or more. Looks to me like most companies are hedging, consistent with the "pay-to-play" hypothesis.
Top Contributors to Provincial Parties in 2003:
|North Atlantic Refining Ltd||9000||17000|
|A Harvey & Co||10000||12250|
|Nfld Design Associates||7000||15000|
|Pennecon 2000 ltd||11000||11000|
|CIBC + CIBC Wood Gundy||5000||15000|
|BAE Newplan Group Inc.||12000||5000|
|Husky Energy +Husky Oil||8000||9000|
|SGE Acres Ltd||10000||6000|
|BMO bank and Nesbitt Burns||5000||10000|
|Hatch Associates Ltd.||15000|
|Reid & Associates||15000|
|Island Waste Management||5000||8000|
|RBC bank + securities||2500||10000|
|Archean Resources Ltd.||11750|
|Woodward's Oil Ltd.||2000||9500|
|Fishery Products Int.||10000||1400|
|CHC Helicopter Corp.||10000||1000|
|NL Consulting Engineers||7000||4000|
|Insurance Brokers Ass.||10000||800|
|Myles Leger Ltd||7400||3000|
|Becktel Canada Ltd||10000|
|Cougar Engineering and Construction||2000||8000|
|Imperial Tobacco Canada||5000||5000|
|Rothmans' Benson & Hedges||10000|