RM Issue #030715
Martin raises $6.4 million for leadership campaign
Latest backers include Maple Leaf Foods, Westcoast Energy
Full list of donors to be named before Liberal convention in f
Jul. 12, 2003. 01:00 AM
OTTAWA—Big business and the Bay Street crowd have helped Paul Martin's leadership campaign amass $6.4 million in publicly declared donations. G.W.F. McCain, chairman of the board of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., has donated $100,000, as has Westcoast Energy, the Vancouver company previously run by Martin supporter Michael Phelps, the Martin camp revealed yesterday. And the $50,000-club was well populated, with a dozen individuals and corporations pumping that amount into Martin's blind trust, according to the latest public filing of donations information. Among those who gave $50,000 each, Martin organizers said, are John Bragg, owner of Oxford Frozen Foods of Oxford, N.S.; David Campbell, the father of former Toronto MP Barry Campbell; prominent Montreal business figure Brian Levitt and Maple Leaf Financial Group Inc. CEO David Roffey. Companies putting $50,000 into Martin's blind trust, according to the Martin camp, included Royal Plastics Inc. of Woodbridge, Ont.; Kaneff Management Services of Brampton; Toronto-based investment company Lawrence & Co. and Oceanpath Inc., headed by former Martin business partner Laurence Pathy. Toronto financier Gordon Cheesbrough donated $15,000, while National Bank of Canada put up $20,000 and INCO Ltd. contributed $20,000. Bell Canada Enterprises donated $25,000 and well-known businessman L.R. "Red" Wilson also gave $25,000. These donations had previously been out of sight in the blind trust in which Martin's organizers have been gathering leadership contributions since 1998. The trust was used to insulate Martin, 64, from information about his backers to prevent a conflict-of-interest situation when he was finance minister. But, under pressure from his leadership rivals to divulge information about his backers, Martin has been lifting the lid on his blind trust in cases where the donors agree to be identified. Of the $2.1 million in donations reported to the federal ethics watchdog yesterday — bringing Martin's total to more than $6 million —about $1 million is from the blind trust. The rest are funds raised at public functions in May and June. The latest release puts Martin's funding far in excess of the $4 million limit on campaign spending decreed by the Liberal party for the leadership contest between February and this coming Nov. 15. Asked about this, Martin adviser Scott Reid said the $4 million limit doesn't cover everything spent in the leadership race. "There are notable exemptions from the spending limit such as travel, which is a tremendous expenditure for any campaign, and polling," he said. "We've also been incurring expenses well before the call of the convention in February. We've been paying for staff and other resources for months before that." Reid added that Martin and the other two candidates — Deputy Prime Minister John Manley, 53, and Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, 50 — have agreed that any extra money raised for their leadership bids will be donated to the Liberal party. Manley has so far raised $2.2 million for the campaign and Copps has publicly declared $330,000 in contributions. Copps has also raised other funds that have gone into a blind trust to avoid conflict-of-interest. That information will be made public just before the leadership convention. Martin has also promised to reveal any remaining undisclosed funds in his blind trust at that time.