Political donations have plunged in Saskatchewan since the 2020 election: report

Saskatchewan’s political parties received significantly less money in 2021.

According to a report by Elections Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Party received less than half the contributions last year compared to 2020 – donations totaled $2.1 million, down from more than $5 million. The NDP also saw its donations drop nearly in half to just over $1.8 million.

Most of the province’s smaller parties have not been spared by the crisis.

The Buffalo Party brought in $31,627 in contributions, down from nearly $182,905 in 2020. Progressive Conservative Party donations dropped to just under $12,800, while in 2020 it brought in slightly more of $13,700 (in addition to an influx of almost $400,000 that came through the Party PC Trust Fund, which was created when the party went on hiatus in 1997).

The Green Party of Saskatchewan received more than $7,289 in contributions, down from $30,468.

Daniel Westlake, professor of political studies at the University of Saskatchewan, says such a drop is not surprising.

“I would expect to see a very significant drop between 2020 and 2021,” he said. “The reality is that people pay more attention during an election year, parties fundraise more aggressively, and the reality is that all of that tends to go down once the election is over.”

The only party to see an increase in donations was the Liberal Party, with $20,988 surpassing the 2020 total of $13,609.

Corporate and union donations continue

The Saskatchewan Party continues to enjoy strong support from businesses and corporations. Over 450 donated to the party, totaling $466,466. The NDP saw just 29 corporate donations, totaling $25,039.

However, the NDP significantly outranks the Sask Party when it comes to union donations. In 2021, there were 21 union donations for New Democrats, raising nearly $250,000. The Sask Party only received two union donations totaling $1,990.

Westlake noted that the vast majority of donations across the spectrum have been made by individuals. He thinks corporate and union money is likely to become less important in the future.

“I would expect those to go down a bit, just because they’re becoming less common in Canadian politics,” he said. “Indeed, Saskatchewan is a bit of an exception in that it still allows corporate and union donations.

“You go to the federal level and you increasingly go to a number of other provinces, and corporations and unions are just not allowed to donate, so in that respect I would expect that that individual giving becomes more important.”

Most provinces and the federal government do not allow corporate or union donations.