Canadian Politics

A17(b) - Money in Canadian Politics: Fundraising, Transfers, and Spending

Date: Jun 14 | Time: 10:15am to 11:45am | Location:

Central Party Financial Support for Diverse Candidates: An Intersectional Approach: Rob Currie-Wood (University of Alberta), Scott Pruysers (Dalhousie University)
Abstract: Political parties are facing growing demands to address representational deficiencies in elected office. Given their effective monopoly over entry into the House of Commons, the underrepresentation of women, racialized Canadians, and Indigenous Peoples is largely viewed as a failure of political parties. The literature points to highly decentralized nomination processes as a major factor contributing to representational deficiencies (Cheng and Tavits 2011; Thomas and Bodet 2013; Tolley 2019), noting improvements for women’s representation when central party bodies are involved in candidate recruitment and selection (Koop and Bittner 2011; Cross and Young 2013; Cross et al. 2022). One possible way of addressing representational disparities is for central party organizations to use their financial resources to support candidates from marginalized backgrounds. A recent analysis, however, reveals that Canadian parties do not systematically support women’s candidacies financially (Currie-Wood and Pruysers 2023). This paper extends previous analyses in two ways. First, we consider whether similar patterns apply to candidates of other marginalized backgrounds (specifically racialized and Indigenous candidates). Second, we adopt an intersectional approach and consider whether Indigenous or racialized women are provided less central party support than white men and women. We answer these questions by analysing intraparty financial transfers within the Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic parties during the 2008 and 2011 election years.

Spending in District-Level Campaigns in Canadian Federal Elections: Holly Ann Garnett (Royal Military College of Canada)
Abstract: What are district-level campaign funds spent on in Canada? This paper addresses the questions of the uses of campaign funds in electoral-district level contests between 2015-2021, using candidate expense reports transmitted by candidates’ financial agents to Elections Canada and then published in the Political Financing Database. This rich source of information on candidate’s campaign coffers and spending is published to maintain transparency in the campaign financing, but it is rarely used by scholars for more fine-grained analysis, beyond the totals spent, due to the complexity of returns, the changing categorization of expenses over time. This paper breaks down the expense report categories into major categories of spending, including election and personal expenses. It then merges these data with candidate and race-level data to determine the predictors of candidate spending, providing an overall picture of candidate spending in electoral districts across Canada.

Examining Fundraising Appeals in Canada’s Major Political Parties: Patricia Mockler (Queen's University), Holly Ann Garnettt (Royal Military College of Canada), Lisa Young (University of Calgary)
Abstract: Political parties rely heavily on email marketing to collect contributions; direct emails to supporters remain an important source of party revenue (Giasson and Small 2020, Marland and Matthews 2017). Direct connection with potential contributors became more important with the end of the per-vote subsidy, leading to increased reliance on individual donors to fund party activities. In addition, digital political messaging must be able to “garner public attention and be circulated in a competitive and cluttered mediascape” (Raynauld and Lalancette 2021). These institutional features can incentivize the use of ideologically extreme imagery in appeals for contributions. What is unclear, however, is how these appeals are received by partisans. Our paper asks: what kind of appeals for donation are effective in the Canadian context? Using data from a novel survey experiment, we explore the efficacy of messaging from parties and assess what kinds of messages encourage respondents to donate. The survey experiment introduces respondents to messaging that varies in both content and tone. Our results include a comparison across partisans of Canada’s three major parties to assess differences in perceptions of each message type along party lines. This paper will provide timely insights about the role of political parties in shaping public discourse in Canada and their role in the growth of documented polarization among the politically engaged (Kevins and Soroka 2018).