CPC Leadership Race: Convoy Supporters Donate Over $460,000

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CPC Leadership Race: Convoy Supporters Donate Over $460,000

During the convoy, demonstrators were already encouraging Pierre Poilievre in his quest to become Prime Minister of Canada (archives).

Canadians who donated to the Trucker Convoy have donated more than $460,000 to Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leadership candidates. For many, these were their first donations to a federal political party, according to a CBC News analysis.

To come to this conclusion, CBC News compared the donations attributed to the CPC leadership candidates through August 1 with those of the fundraising campaign on the GiveSendGo platform.

In all, more than 3,100 people contributed to both campaigns, based on identical name and postal code combinations.

The actual number of people who contributed to both the convoy and the Conservative Party leadership bids could be higher. CBC News' data-matching formula did not list people whose names or postal codes were slightly different. And some convoy donors may have contributed to the campaign of one of the party's leadership candidates after August 1, after which time data is not available.

The occupation lasted nearly three weeks (archives).

According to University of Alberta political science professor Jared Wesley, people who participate in protest movements often engage in politics.

Although the number of people involved is small, Wesley said it's far more than he would have expected and is consistent with his own surveys and research.

University of Alberta political science professor Jared Wesley

CBC analysis found convoy donors made up 4.2% of the approximately 74,000 people who contributed to the CPC leadership contestants' campaign before August 1. Their donations represent 3.8% of the $12.2 million in contributions made before August 1.

In all, 70% of these cross-donations were intended for Pierre Poilievre, who won the CCP leadership race on Saturday night. His rivals also received their share of the pie: Leslyn Lewis, with 16%, Scott Aitchison, with 13%, and Roman Baber, with 12%.

Jean Charest, who strongly criticized Mr. Poilievre for his support of the convoy, received contributions from two convoy donors, while Scott Aitchison received 13.

Only one other political party, the People's Party of Canada (PPC), received strong support from convoy donors in the first two quarters of this year. Maxime Bernier's PPC received money from approximately 60 convoy donors.

The Liberal Party of Canada and the Green Party of Canada each received a single donation that matched the list of convoy donors. For their part, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party received none.

The analysis also revealed that the occupation of downtown Ottawa appears to have mobilized a number of Canadians who were not very active in federal politics to contribute to the Conservative Party leadership campaign. , which could be a factor in Canadian politics in the future.

If we take a closer look at 50 of the convoy's top donors who also made donation to a leadership contestant, we find that 25 of them have never donated to a federal political party or candidate in Elections Canada's contribution database , which dates back to 2004.

Of these 25 convoy donors, 22 donated to Mr. Poilievre, 2 to Mrs. Lewis and 1 to Mr. Baber. Of this group of 25, 11 are from British Columbia, 8 from Ontario, 4 from Alberta, 1 from Nova Scotia and 1 from Saskatchewan.

According to candidate Scott Aitchison's campaign spokesperson, Jamie Ellerton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's divisive rhetoric and politicization of vaccine requirements have prompted some people to take action.

I'm not surprised that those who have engaged in grassroots protest have sought to get involved in a political party to help see the change they want to see.

Pierre Poilievre (second from left) picked up an easy victory over rivals Jean Charest, Scott Aitchison and Leslyn Lewis (file).

Other teams of the candidates for the Conservative leadership declined to comment or did not respond to CBC interview requests.

Kevin Blackman is one whose political awakening has come as a result of the federal government's handling of the pandemic. The British Columbia businessman contributed $1,000 to the protest and $550 to Mr. Poilievre's campaign.

He mentioned that his gift to Mr. Poilievre is the first he remembers making to a federal political party or candidate.

I heard a lot of the comments he was making in the House on YouTube so I could relate to him and I thought he would oppose this regime, which is crazy and so dictatorial. Human rights have been flushed down the toilet, he claimed in a CBC interview.

British Columbian says he agrees with argument from the convoy protesters that the Canadian government's vaccination requirements were not based on science.

They were peaceful, and I was very happy to support a peaceful protest. And I think we still have the right to protest.

Mr. Blackman added that he would like Mr. Poilievre to focus on fiscal responsibility. I would like to see him have a minimalist government and try not to overtax the people who produce.

Pierre Poilievre mobilized many demonstrators to his cause. Analysts say his next challenge is to translate that support into votes (archives).

Another businessman, Holden Rhodes of London, Ont., contributed $25,000 to the convoy rally and $1,675 to Mr. Poilievre's campaign. He says he strongly believes in individual rights and freedoms.

These rights and freedoms are enshrined in the Canadian Charter, but they have been trampled on, violated and nullified by all levels of government in the most horrific way over the past two and a half years, he explained by email.

Mr. Rhodes said he supported the convoy because it was made up of Canadians from all walks of life who braved the winter to defend their rights.

It was so refreshing to see my fellow citizens showing the government, in a very visceral way, that they were fed up with their excesses and abuses.

The businessman said he made a donation to Mr. Poilievre because of his political positions. He believes in the same things I do, free speech and other freedoms, promoting a healthy lifestyle, education, family, individual rights and shrinking government and those who stand in the way of positive growth, to name a few.

University of Toronto political science professor Eric Merkley says parties and candidates who have been seeking new voters will now have to convince them to return for a second election.

It is possible to attract voters the first time, but how do you get them to come back the next time? Especially if you take away things like the pandemic, he wonders.

Another professor from the same faculty at the same university, Chris Cochrane, said it's important to note that the convoy donors were comfortable with the support of favorite and eventual winner, Mr. Poilievre. /p>

He doesn't just appeal to what many would call a fringe element of Canadian politics. He appeals to the mainstream of the Conservative Party and also to that smaller element of Canadian politics.

Mr. Wesley mentioned that a future challenge for a possible Poilievre government would be to meet the expectations of the people who contributed to both the convoy and the leadership race.

Would he really be able to meet these expectations? And if not, what will happen? Where will these people go? We hope it doesn't turn into an insurrection, but that's what happened south of the border.

With information from Elizabeth Thompson and Christian Paas-Lang, CBC News

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