Stefanson party leadership campaign powered by big-name donors
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/03/2022 (440 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Heather Stefanson has finally revealed the long list of heavy hitters who helped finance her successful 2021 run for the Tory leadership and secure the role of premier.
In filings Monday to Elections Manitoba — made on the eve of the Fort Whyte provincial byelection — Stefanson’s campaign revealed $576,625 in contributions.
Of that total, $551,330 came from more than 300 contributors who donated $250 or more.
More than 120 donated the maximum $3,000 — including several well-known business people and politicians.
Gail Asper, John Buhler, Mark Chipman, Art DeFehr, Hartley Richardson, Sanford Riley, Charlie Spiring, Sabino Tummillo and Curt Vossen are listed among the the top donors.
Two members of Stefanson’s cabinet — Labour Minister Reg Helwer and Transportation Minister Doyle Piwniuk (both named to those respective roles in January) — gave the maximum $3,000, as did federal Conservative MP Marty Morantz (Conservative—Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley).
Stefanson narrowly beat her only party leadership rival, former Conservative MP and Winnipeg police officer Shelly Glover, in the hotly contested race Oct. 30.
Glover has until the end of the month to file her audited financial statements, after receiving an extension from the chief electoral officer.
Stefanson also previously received extensions, with the PC party saying she would make her filing public March 21 — the day before the Fort Whyte byelection.
Audited financial statements from candidates are due within 30 days after a leadership contest period — from when the contest is announced to two months after the date of the vote.
The Election Financing Act does not limit the number of times a filing deadline can be extended. An extension request has to be made in writing before the filing deadline to the chief electoral officer.
Stefanson eked out a win in the leadership vote, with Glover receiving 49 per cent of the ballots and later challenging the result at the Court of Queen’s Bench. A judge ruled in December there may have been some problems with the way the race was run, but Glover did not produce evidence of any irregularities that could have altered the outcome.
The amount of money raised by the Stefanson campaign was nearly nine times more than the winning candidate in the 2017 provincial NDP leadership race.
Wab Kinew raised a total of $67,464 in his successful run against Steve Ashton,with nearly one-third coming from those who gave $250 or less. Just one donor gave the maximum $3,000.
Ashton raised $12,110 in monetary contributions in 2017, most of which came eight people who donated $250 or more.
Stefanson’s 2021 leadership campaign spent nearly $97,000 on advertising and media, $119,693 on salaries and honoraria, $84,754 on polling, $62,700 on transportation, accommodation and food, and $33,748 on posters and pamphlets, the Elections Manitoba financial statements show.
By comparison, in his 2017 leadership race, Kinew spent $2,529 on advertising, $24,373 on salaries and honoraria, nothing on polling, $20,916 on posters and pamphlets, and $2,441 on transportation, accommodation and food.
Auditor’s report on Stefanson’s leadership finances
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.