Though political parties now rely more on government funding than ever before, political contributions by Canadians are still an important part of the finances of any Canadian political party. In addition to providing parties with funding, they also allow us to gauge the enthusiasm the population, and particularly those with party memberships, have with each of the parties.
Elections Canada has all of the financial returns available for public consumption, but from what I can tell only those including the 2007 fiscal year are currently available (except for the 2008 return of the Animal Alliance, those keeners).
Government funding is a relatively recent factor, and it is demonstrated in the returns of some of the parties. The Bloc Quebecois and New Democrats appear to be giving less emphasis on raising funds the old way, as they have seen a drop in political contributions which does not correspond to their electoral performances.
Here are the political contributions, starting with 2007 and running down to 2003.
The 2003 total for the Conservatives is the combination of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative totals. It is interesting to see how things took off with the formation of the Conservative Party:
2007 - $16,983,000
2006 - $17,392,894
2005 - $17,915,780
2004 - $12,907,357
2003 - $8,458,472
The Liberals saw big drop-offs in contributions in 2004 and 2007. The drop-off is probably a result of the previous years (2003 and 2006) seeing leadership races.
2007 - $4,737,220
2006 - $11,261,293
2005 - $9,121,716
2004 - $6,085121
2003 - $14,618,039
New Democratic Party
The NDP has seen a steady decline since 2003 in funding, which I have to chalk up to a lack of interest on the part of the NDP itself. During this period, the NDP was on the rise, so it doesn't compute that there would be a lack of interest on the part of contributors.
2007 - $3,912,029
2006 - $3,954,501
2005 - $5,073,310
2004 - $5,187,142
2003 - $6,176,423
The Bloc has also seen a big drop in funding, which again needs to be chalked up to increased reliance on government funding.
2007 - $593,036
2006 - $689,682
2005 - $965,089
2004 - $1,051,851
2003 - $1,244,612
The Greens, however, have increased their contributions by more than three times since 2003.
2007 - $972,022
2006 - $962,927
2005 - $409,357
2004 - $351,031
2003 - $296,773
Onto another topic, most Canadians probably don't realise that their political parties are affiliated with parties in other countries through international organisations. The affiliation is, of course, rather limited but parties within these organisations get together and discuss issues. For example, Michael Ignatieff will be addressing the Liberal International this summer.
The Conservative Party is a member of the International Democrat Union. Fellow members include the Liberal Party of Australia (of John Howard fame), the Kuomintang of China (formerly led by Chiang Kai-Shek and currently in government in Taiwan), the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Nicolas Sarkozy's party in France), the Christian Democratic Union (Angela Merkel's party in Germany), the New Zealand National Party (in government), the Democratic Party of Serbia, the Moderate Party of Sweden, the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom and, of course, the Republican Party of the United States.
Countries led by members of the IDU include Austria, Canada, Republic of China, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, South Korea, New Zealand, and Sweden.
The Liberal Party is a member of the Liberal International. Fellow members include the Mouvement Réformateur and Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten parties in Belgium, the Yabloko party in Russia, the Liberal People's Party and Centre Party of Sweden, and the Liberal Democrats of the UK. Countries with an LI member forming the whole or part of government include Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Honduras, Paraguay, Senegal, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The New Democrats are a member of the Socialist International. Member parties include the Australian Labor Party (currently in government), the National Democratic Party of Egypt, the Socialist Party of France (of Ségolène Royale fame), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Labour Party of Ireland, and the Labour Party of the UK.
Countries with an SI member forming the whole or part of government include Andorra, Angola, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Chile, Cote d'Ivoire, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mali, Mauritius, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.
The Green Party is a member of the Global Greens and the Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas. Fellow members of the GG include the Green Party of the United States, the Australian Greens, Les Verts of France, the Green Party of England and Wales, and the Scottish Green Party. The FFGPA seems to have mostly the same members, but limited to North and South America.
The NDP seem to have the best international affiliation what with all the governments formed by members of the Socialist International, but it is difficult to put yourself up against the IDU when its members form the government of three of the G8 nations (France, Germany, and Canada). The SI isn't completely left in the lurch, as it does have the UK and a party that forms part of the governing coalition of Germany.