The Final Tally from The Drake

Sam Bulte was briefly back in the political news recently as the Ignatieff campaign announced that they had received her endorsement.  The release brought to mind the last election and the fundraising controversy generated by the fundraiser at the Drake Hotel.  One of the most important aspects of election accountability and transparency are the Elections Act requirements for filing finance returns: candidates for national elections are required to submit a campaign finance return within 120 days of an election campaign and riding associations are required to submit annual reports by June 30th of the following calendar year. 

For those interested in the numbers from The Drake, the information has been a long time in coming. Days before the May 23rd deadline for the election campaign return, Bulte's official agent requested a three-month extension citing lost data and claiming that both the campaign and its bank had lost the records which needed to be reconstructed from microfiche.  Bulte's official agent filed the election campaign return days before the extension deadline and it has just been posted online.  The Parkdale High Park Liberal riding association 2005 annual return has still not been posted.  The riding association was granted a one-month extension in late June after it claimed computer problems.  The association has still not filed that information in violation of the Elections Act and could face possible de-certification.

The election return does provide some insight into Bulte's backers, which is relevant both to close the book on the election controversy and to gauge who is willing to provide financial support to MPs that favour DMCA-style copyright reform.
During the election campaign, Bulte received donations of more than $200 from nine corporations including HMV, Socan, Sony BMG Music, Universal Music, Warner Music, and Breakthrough Films and Television. 

The return does not provide a full accounting of the fundraiser.  Perhaps that will be found in the 2006 riding association return that is not due until June 2007, however, the non-contribution portion of the fundraiser (which presumably covered the actual costs at the Drake) lists the likely attendees (or at least those who paid the $250 per person ticket price).  Fifty-one tickets were sold, six of which were purchased by Stan Tyminski, a longtime Bulte supporter.  Of the remaining 45 tickets, purchasers included:

  • the hosts (CMPDA, Entertainment Software Association, Jacqueline Husion (listed twice)
  • the lobbyists and marketers (David Dyer of Capitol Hill Group, Sussex Strategy Group, Partners and Edell, Wellington Strategy Group)
  • the collectives (Canadian Music Publishers (listed twice))
  • the lawyers (McCarthys, Cassels Brock, Goodman & Carr, Heenan Blaikie)
  • the record industry (Warner Music (four tickets), Sony BMG (three tickets), Universal Music (two tickets), True North Records, Maplecore, HMV)
  • publishing interests (Kim McArthur, Christopher Moore)

Certainly an impressive list of friends, though relatively few actual artists seemingly among them.  Incidentally, the campaign paid the Drake nearly $3000 to host the event and Bulte personally provided $420 worth of wine, for which she was not repaid.  There is no indication of the cost for the private Margo Timmins performance – perhaps that will appear in a riding association return since failure to declare either the cost or the in-kind value would likely constitute a violation of the Elections Act.  Excluding that cost, the fundraiser appears to have netted just under $10,000.

For the overall campaign, Bulte took in $58,000, of which $8339 was her own unpaid contribution, $5,000 was a donation from her husband, and $8,500 came from the central Liberal party.  Of the remaining $36,000, a best guess based on the data would be that nearly 50 percent was financed by the copyright lobby and the Drake fundraiser.


  1. Michael, As much as I did not like Sam Bulte, and I lived in the riding and did have dealings with her, we know that her fundraising was wrong, but it is hardly unusual in the world of politics. As well I think you overstate the impact that the controversy had many people that I have talked to in the riding knew nothing about the issue. It played a part but so has the gradual demographic change in the area that is fuelling interest in the NDP and Green Party; something that has been documented by most of the Toronto media. Vested interests playsa role in politics; thats old news and this story played a justified part in her defeat but its only a part of her election story. You and the bloggers cant take all the credit. sd

  2. Dwight Williams says:

    Speaking of Ignatieff…
    …now that we know where Ignatieff apparently stands, given Bulte\’s support, what about the rest of his rivals for the Liberal leadership? Have they been publicly approached for their views on the subject?

  3. @Scott
    I agree that blogs had little effect on voting in that riding. The effect of the ‘blogosphere’ is largely overestimated — When you communicate only with others that have similar views to your own it distorts your perception of what is representative in the population at large.

    I hope that you point to the systemic nature of quid pro quo lobbying (read bribery) as an indication of the apathy of the population and not as a justification of the practice.

  4. Yes WAI , I certainly think the “donations” system is wrong because it distorts influence. I think that only individuals should be allowed to donate. It should be noted that Peggy Nash outspent Bulte by a fair amount spending just over 99% of her limit compared to Bulte’s 86%. Of note, but possibly not surprising is that the Marijuana party listed total expenses of just $30.00. Possibly for chips.