A sore point for supporters of the right-wing BC Liberals is that their party seems so financially beholden to corporations. An immediate retort is that the NDP is equally beholden to unions. The NDP, in other words, is just as bad, so let’s move on. The problem with this response is that, in British Columbia, the two major political parties are not equally indebted to their largest sponsors. More precisely, the leading right-wing party is much more beholden to corporations than the leading left-wing party is to unions. Thus, an argument of equivalence – a false equivalence in which both sides are equally obligated to outside masters, so both are excused – simply doesn’t hold up to examination.
A case in point is a recent five-day analysis of campaign donations conducted by the long-standing corporate media icon, The Vancouver Sun.* Through the use of parallelism, the newspaper asserts a position of equivalence:
It’s well-known that unions are big supporters of the NDP, just as corporations bankroll the B.C. Liberals. (The Vancouver Sun, April 24, 2013, A4)
However, when we start examining the numbers closely, something startling appears from the statistics provided by the The Vancouver Sun itself – statistics which go largely unexamined in the newspaper’s analysis.
From the numbers above** we can make the following calculations:
- Corporate donations to the BC Liberals are five times greater than that of union donations to the BC NDP.
- Corporate contributions make up 61% of BC Liberal donations, whereas union contributions are only 23% of BC NDP donations.
These calculations are never mentioned in the text of the newspaper’s five-day series.
*April 23, 2013 to April 27, 2013
**I could not find this particular chart online, so I scanned the original paper version. (The Vancouver Sun, April 23, 2013, A8)