$1.8 million: A by the numbers look at political donations in Nova Scotia in 2017
Nova Scotians contributed more than $1.8 million to their five officially registered political parties in 2017 — a year that saw the province’s citizens head to the polls in a contentious election.
The results of the election didn’t change much in the way of the political landscape in Nova Scotia, with Stephen McNeil’s Liberals returning to Province House with a majority mandate with the PCs and the NDP forming the opposition.
The donations — which totaled $1,824,382 — give a glimpse of who raised what and where for each party.
The figures come from a Global News analysis of each party’s 2017 disclosure statements that were filed with Elections Nova Scotia and released by the provincial body in June.
The statements cover a period from January 1 to December 31 of 2017 and record the names of those who contributed more than $200, as well as a total amount of cash collected from donations less than $200.
Nova Scotia Liberal Party
The Nova Scotia Liberal Party were able to form a government in 2017 and they did it on the back of a massive haul of cash, easily outpacing any of their competitors in political contributions.
According to the disclosure documents filed with Elections Nova Scotia, the Liberals raised $853,473 in 2017 — roughly 47 per cent of all cash raised in the province.
The party was supported by 1006 unique named donors, which was a high for any political party in the province.
High-profile donors included Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, architect Keith Tufts and businessman Parker Rudderham.
Stephen McNeil’s Liberals were also able to raise the most out of total donations under $200, coming in with $125,480.
Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia’s official opposition has gone through multiple political hurdles in the past year and a half, and are still looking to find a standard-bearer in the wake of Jamie Baillie’s resignation as party leader.
They were able to pick up seats in the 2017 election but failed to stop the Liberals from forming a majority.
The PCs received $417,586 in contributions during 2017, the smallest haul of any of the three major political parties in the province.
However, the party received three separate donations of $5,000, the most of any party.
Major donors include Robert Steele of the Steele Automotive Group, businessman Scott Keeping and Donald Chisholm, president of Construction Nova Scotia.
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Nova Scotia NDP
Despite raising more money than the Progressive Conservatives, the NDP only won seven seats in the provincial legislature this past fall.
However, the Gary Burrill’s party did pick up two seats when compared to their status at dissolution.
In total, the NDP received $545,200.72 in political contributions in 2017.
They had a base of 854 unique, named donors, including prominent lawyer Raymond Larkin and labour lawyer Ronald Stockton.
The NDP raised nearly the same amount in donations under $200 as the Liberals, with the province’s third party raking in a fifth of their total contributions — $545,200 — from small donations.
Green Party of Nova Scotia and Atlantica Party
The two other official political parties, neither of which were able to win a seat in the 2017 election, had mixed results in fundraising.
Neither party was able to break $15,000 in contributions, with the Atlantica Party hitting $10,011 and the Greens raising $6,760.
Both parties had less than 10 unique named donors and received the lion’s share of their funds from contributions under $200.
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