Developers, construction organizations helped top up $12.9 million in 2016 Progressive Conservative contributions

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liuna membership meeting
Members at the LIUNA members' meeting in January (LIUNA Facebook photo)

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has published a list of the largest donors to Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party in 2016 — and several of them represent organizations within the construction and development community.

The PC fundraising machine collected $12.9 million last year, more than double the Ontario Liberal Party. “This happened as reforms were being introduced to ban corporations and unions from donating to the province’s political parties, and as Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s approval ratings sunk to record lows,” CBC reported.

While data on who donated how much to each political party is publicly available from Elections Ontario, the donations are not sorted in a way that reveals who gave the most is because the rules allowed different ways to accumulate donations, yet still stay within the legal limits.

During 2016, Ontario’s Election Finances Act limited donors to giving $9,975 to a party each year. However, donors were also allowed to give $9,975 during each election period, including byelections. There were three separate byelection periods in 2016. Donors were also allowed to give a maximum of $1,330 to candidates during each byelection period.

CBC News discovered that the top donor to the PCs in 2016 was Orlando Corporation, which bills itself as “Canada’s largest privately-owned industrial real estate developer and landlord.”

The donations totalling $159,600 came from Orlando Corp. and its subsidiaries, including Orlando Development Inc., Orlando Construction Inc., Quarre Properties Inc. and Heartland (Seven) Ltd.

The Labourers International Union of North America (LIUNA) came in third at $74,070, following Medipac at $100,415.  The list includes several other architectural, engineering and construction groups.

New laws that took effect Jan. 1 banned corporate and union donations and also drastically reduced the amount an individual donor can give each year, CBC reported. However, the three main parties and the Green Party of Ontario will each receive taxpayer-funded allowances starting this year.

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