Monday, May 16, 2011

Joe Comartin: Liberal Party Financial Officer

Or at least he likes to think he is, with this cameo in an article on former Liberal leadership contestants who are still facing staggering debt loads from their failed runs. Here's a quote:
"The Liberals, unlike ourselves and the Conservatives, have not expanded their base for the smaller donations, the $100 to $200 or $300 ones," [Comartin] said. "The candidates are part of the same problem, because they never developed that capacity to do that."

He argued the Liberals also have a history of extravagant spending.

"The Liberals, as a party, as individuals, have this expectation of grandiose events and they spend a heck of a lot more on their campaign than even our winning candidates do in the NDP," he said. "I think there's a change of culture that's needed within that party."

Joe Comartin should learn a couple of things, here:

1. The NDP have been outraised by the Liberals in the  <$200 category, through more donors, since 2009, minus a close race in Q4 of 2009 and Q1 of 2010 - that's a total 7 of 9 quarters since 2009, so, shut up

2. We're still both hilariously behind the Conservatives, so don't try and put yourself in the same boat

Now, this may change in the future due to the election results, but Mr. Comartin has clearly not read the fundraising statements of the past couple of years if he's saying what he's saying. That's OK, I don't expect much from Comartin anyways, as his Windsor West geographical seat mate Brian Masse is 10x more cooler than him, and we all know how hard it is to measure up.

Now, I'm not saying there isn't a tendency of the Liberal Party to rely a bit too much on large donors; we do rely on them more than other parties. However, that being said, our small donors are still more plentiful than the NDP's small donors, at least up until the first quarter of this year. Also, they don't have too many large donors, meaning even when they do have an advantage in small donors, as they did in the Q-4 and Q-1 I mentioned, they were still outraised overall by the Liberals, thanks to their large donors coming through.

Want to see how silly it is of Comartin to wander into another party's election finances without doing his homework? Courtesy of Pundit's Guides data, you can look for yourself.

As to Comartin's second claim, he's also out a step or two; for example, in 2008 (the last election year we have financial data for), Comartin spent $64,758 on his re-election bid, which he won with 48.7% of the vote.

In a similar situation on Don Valley East, winning candidate Yasmin Ratansi spent $67,121 on her re-election bid, and won 48.1% of the vote in a closer race.

Another example, winning candidate in Ottawa Centre, Paul Dewar, spent $74,532 on his re-election bid in 2008, and came up with 39.7% of the vote, while across the river in Hull-Aylmer, Liberal incumbent Marcel Proulx spent $79,056, and came with 37.5% of the vote.

I'm sure if I found more examples, you'd see very little variation from incumbent to incumbent, except in extraordinary circumstances. You can make an argument that the Liberals may spend a few thousand more on their winning ridings, but that's not exactly a big difference in the grand scheme of things, is it?

So, in conclusion, Joe Comartin is either ignorant or lying. And now he's in the Official Opposition! Yay!

10 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. As to Comartin's second claim, he's also out a step or two; for example, in 2008 (the last election year we have financial data for), Comartin spent $64,758 on his re-election bid, which he won with 48.7% of the vote.

    There are a number of other comparisons that could be made where Comartin's argument (Liberals spend more in campaigns) falls apart...

    In 2008, here's the expenditures for Parkdale-High Park

    Peggy Nash (NDP): $76,005
    Gerard Kennedy (Liberal): $66,616

    Jack Layton in 2008, spent $79,281.

    Bob Rae in the riding over in 2008 spent $49,548.

    Layton spent more than any political leader in 2008.
    Stephane Dion -- $46,549.
    Stephen Harper -- $61,102.
    Giles Duceppe -- $71,127.
    Elizabeth May - $55,482.

    There are so many way to look at the data, but mostly it seems as though parties dump money on ridings they feel they're competitive in, or where they feel they're in a tough race. Check out Edmonton-Strathcona where all three parties spent big in the riding.

    The average expense per vote might be lower for the NDP in 2011, but that's because they won in unexpected ridings like Terrebonne—Blainville where they spent $2,256 in 2008 and probably spent the same in 2011. (My bet is that in future elections, they'll at least double what they did in 2011 in the riding. ;) )

    Some notes on the leadership debt, the real problem may be the caps -- $1,100 per year. The Liberal party's the only one to try and have a leadership race with these caps. With the Conservative leadership race, Tony Clement was helped by Belind Stronach and Stephen Harper to the tune of $100,000 (about 1/5th of his debt) and $10,000 respectively. That wouldn't happen now.

    Regardless, as you noted, the Conservative Party beats both the Liberals and the NDP (sometimes all the other parties combined) when it comes to fund-raising. In terms of money, none of the parties are competitive against the Conservatives. Anyone who's a part of the Liberal, NDP, or Green party should consider donating if they can.

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  3. I couldn't have put any of that better myself, Sharon, thanks for commenting!

    And I've already got my donation autopayment coming out, so I'm good!

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  4. Joe is right on this point ~

    "The Liberals, as a party, as individuals, have this expectation of grandiose events and they spend a heck of a lot more on their campaign than even our winning candidates do in the NDP," he said.

    I mean why waste money having candidates visit ridings and actually, you know, campaign? That's elitist. Send them to Vegas, it's cheaper!

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  5. Christian,

    Heck, why even have expenses at all? Pretty sure Brosseau didn't.

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  6. Eggsactly, Volkov. Dippers have more in common with the cons than they admit.

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  7. He meant spending on the leadership races, though.

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  8. Well, either way, he's kind of a douche bag.

    You may be right, however... I'll updated it if I have a chance to later today, but my point still stands on the latter one.

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  9. He meant spending on the leadership races, though.

    :P <-- to myself then.

    Taking it from that angle, it's funny though that the candidates who spent the most money paid off their debts -- Rae and Ignatieff. Hedy Fry and Martha Findlay Hall had the some of the smallest debts (both under $500,000, which I believe was the spending cap in 2003 for the NDP leadership race). Either spend big, or go home. :P

    Actually, with the new spending caps that limit $1,100 donation from an individuals for all the candidates, the obvious lesson is not to have more than a few people run. Eleven was way too many.

    I'm curious though if anyone has any information on the NDP's 2003 leadership race -- especially a donor's list. Election Canada's website has information on leadership races from 2004 onwards. What was the breakdown on donations? Did any of the candidates benefit as Tony Clement did from a large donation?

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  10. Furthermore, when was the last time the NDP had a seriously contested leadership race like the one the Libs had in 2006?

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