Elections Yukon has released its annual fundraising report for 2017. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)

Elections Yukon releases fundraising report for 2017

Liberal party president forced to explain why in-kind donation information came in late

The Yukon Liberals raised nearly $74,000 worth of cash and in-kind donations in 2017 but are denying there’s anything untoward about the fact that paperwork on who paid for box seats at a hockey game as a fundraiser last year was filed more than two weeks after the deadline.

According to the annual report released by Elections Yukon, “the Yukon Liberal Party filed an annual revenue return by the filing deadline (which was April 3), but subsequently reported that 10 in-kind contributions had been omitted. A revised annual revenue return was filed on April 20, 2018.”

Party president Devin Bailey is taking responsibility. He said it took him “longer than it should have” to track down the information he needed including names, addresses and other final details.

“My gifts-in-kind, I had the names, I was getting the information to submit them, and then honestly, I went to Hawaii and it just didn’t happen in a timely manner,” he said.

All 10 of the Liberals’ in-kind contributions were to cover the cost of a hockey box rental. In December 2017 the party raised $20,000 at the event where donors got to watch the game with Premier Sandy Silver and deputy premier Ranj Pillai. Based on the report it appears the box itself cost the 10 donors an additional $20,000.

Among the donors that contributed to the box were White Gold Corp., ECEE Money Ltd., and all three members of the management team of B.C.-based Oxygen Capital Corp. which describes itself online as “developers, permitters, fundraisers, explorers, branders and mine-builders.”

White Gold Corp,, which owns approximately 40 per cent of the Yukon’s White Gold mining district, is listed as contributing $6,000 worth of an in-kind donation toward the box, making it the Liberals’ largest donor in 2017.

The additional information about the Liberals’ in-kind donations came after the NDP raised concerns about the hockey fundraiser in the legislative assembly.

Bailey said the two things are not related and that he was working on getting the required information before the NDP brought it up.

“The NDP is a good opposition, I remember when Sandy was on that side of the aisle he would have been asking the same question. When they did bring it up it didn’t change my course of action.”

Lori McKee, the Yukon’s chief electoral officer, said the requirement to report in-kind donations is relatively new in the territory.

The legislation changed in 2015 and 2016 was the first year those kind of details were required, she said.

Previously, parties only had to report cash donations that didn’t have any other value. That means things like membership fees, event registration money and in-kind donations didn’t have to be publicly reported before 2016.

The Yukon Party received a total of $68,512.16 in 2017 including seven in-kind donations. Most of those donations were from the six sitting MLAs who donated gifts to the party ranging from dinner packages to dogsled tours.

MLA Brad Cathers is listed as the party’s largest donor in 2017. Cathers gave the party $2,900, the document says, including a dogsled tour worth $1,400.

The NDP raised $43,770.49 worth of donations in 2017. The party had no in-kind donations that year. The largest donor is listed as Ken Hodgins who gave the party $1,275.

Mike Ivens was the only donor to the Yukon Green Party. He gave the party $1,300.

Currently the Yukon has no legislation governing who can donate to a political party and how much they can give.

The NDP continues to push, as it did during the election for a ban on all corporate, union and Outside donations.

Earlier this year Silver said the all-party members’ services board is looking into coming up with rules around donations but didn’t go into specifics.

The Liberals have previous said they will look into donation limits but that they didn’t agree with banning donations from people outside the territory.

“(Silver) used the ‘I want my relatives from Nova Scotia to be able to donate,” NDP Leader Liz Hanson said. “Well I don’t see any donations from Nova Scotia. These are all corporate and other entities primarily from B.C.”

Hanson said she doesn’t believe changes are coming.

“The premier said he was committed to doing this kind of change. I don’t buy it right now. I don’t think they’re going to do it.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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