Party received $3 M in public funds since 2004, yet has $255 K in debt
What’s really interesting about the Vancouver Sun story about Elizabeth May’s threat to quit as Green Party leader – in addition to her whinging – is the window it provides into the financial situation of the Green Party of Canada, which everyone assumed would be rolling in rolling papers, store-bought roach clips and other goodies after public financing of political parties came into effect in 2004.
Indeed, since the fourth quarter of 2004 the party has received a total of $3,086,075.39 in public funds (see figures below). In addition, it collected $351,030.66 in contributions in 2004, and $409,357.09 in 2005. It received reimbursements of $455,489.54 for the 2006 election and $298,907.63 for the 2004 election.
Yet the Greens have strayed into the red zone (in more ways than one), with big-party-style debt problems, before they have elected one MP. The Sun reports that the party is $255,000 in debt, which it attributes to preparing for a spring election that didn’t happen:
[May] said she is personally “broke” because of her $50,000 salary and called her job “grueling.”
May’s declaration was in response to a proposal from former interim executive-director David Scrymgeour, who was urging the party to slash spending and eliminate its debt.
Scrymgeour, who refused to comment when contacted, also said that May should step down from the party’s budget review committee.
May responded that the spending cuts would kill the party’s chances of winning seats in the next election.
“I should also add that if council decided to remove me from the budget committee, I would have a hard time staying on as leader,” May wrote in the e-mail obtained by the Vancouver Sun.
“Do I have a lot of unilateral power? No I don’t. Am I earning a tonne of money? No I’m not. Am I tired and discouraged and bone-weary and in chronic pain because I’m waiting for a hip replacement? Do I have down moments? You bet.
“If you catch me in a down moment and slap me in the face, do I really want to stay? I don’t know. I mean, I’m human.”
Wow. If only the election were tomorrow, so the citizens of Central Nova could boot that laggard Peter MacKay, and replace him with this dynamo.
By the way, according to the 2001 census, average individual income in Central Nova is $23,769, average household income is $46,201, and the average family income is $52,911 (I couldn’t find the figures from the 2006 census; I don’t believe they are publicly available yet. But if someone has a link, I’d appreciate it).
I have to feel for David Scrymgeour, also a former aide to PC leader Joe Clark (when the PC party was paying Clark considerably more than May’s $50,000). Ironically, May’s whining sounds eerily similar to Clark’s, during Clark’s valiant struggle to fill the role as leader of the fifth party on less than $300,000 per annum. During the two years between his election as leader and winning a seat in Parliament, this included a supplement of more than $150,000 from the party, which was then approximately $10 M in debt. (And, as I am always obliged to disclose, voting for Clark in the 1998 leadership is the only vote I wish I could take back.)
Scrymgeour was a casualty of the 2003 MacKay-Orchard Pact – which included a provision that Scrymgeour be removed as the party’s national director – so his search for Greener pastures is in a sense understandable. But surely he’s had enough of these granola-munchers by now (in particular, May’s détente cordiale with Stéphane Dion), and is ready to come back to a professional political party.
Allowances Paid to the Green Party of Canada
2007 Q1: $310,866.83
2006 Q4: $310,867.00
2006 Q3: $310,867.00
2006 Q2: $310,867.00
2006 Q1: $266,686.28
2005 Q4: $266,686.28
2005 Q3: $261,847.00
2005 Q2: $261,847.00
2005 Q1: $261,847.00
2004 Q4: $261,847.00
2004 Q3: $261,847.00