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Which families give the most?

Corporations have been banned from making donations to federal political parties for more than a decade. But that hasn’t stopped some of Canada’s most powerful business families from making hefty personal donations. In total, the 10 most generous political donors have funnelled more than $1.2-million to federal parties since 2004, an analysis of Election Canada records shows, with most preferring to spread their money among several of them. For more Globe and Mail analysis on political donations see Dollars and votes: How fundraising has shaped the federal election campaign.


Power Corp. of Canada co-chief executives Paul Desmarais Jr., left, and his brother Andre Desmarais, right, pose with their father Paul Desmarais at the company's annual meeting in Montreal, May 11, 2006.

Power Corp. of Canada co-chief executives Paul Desmarais Jr., left, and his brother Andre Desmarais, right, pose with their father Paul Desmarais at the company’s annual meeting in Montreal, May 11, 2006.

SHAUN BEST/REUTERS

1. The Desmarais Family – $290,000
To the Liberals: $190,000
To the Conservatives: $100,000

The influential clan behind Quebec’s Power Corp. has donated nearly $300,00 to federal political parties over the past decade, slightly favouring the Liberals. The total includes donations from patriarch Paul Desmarais, who died in 2013, wife Jacqueline, sons Paul Jr. and André, who are now jointly lead the company, along with daughters Louise and Sophie as well as several grandchildren.


2. Laurent Beaudoin and the Bombardier family – $213,000
To the Conservatives: $81,000
To the Liberals: $132,000

The Quebec family that controls Bombardier has donated more than $200,000 to political parties, with the largest share going to the Liberals. The donors include the company’s chairman emeritus Laurent Beaudoin, wife Claire Bombardier Beaudoin, son Pierre, who stepped down as Bombardier’s chief executive officer earlier this year, along with other relatives who make up the controlling shareholders of the aerospace and transportation company.

Canadian media mogul Israel

Canadian media mogul Israel “Izzy” Asper, the colorful and controversial founder and chairman of CanWest Global Communications Corp. and Canada’s largest newspaper publisher, died at the age of 71 on October 7, 2003. Asper poses in April 2000 next to the first camera that his television station CKND used in 1975.

FRED GREENSLADE/REUTERS

3. The Aspers - $165,700
To the Conservatives: $77,000
To the Liberals: $80,000
To the Green Party: $6,200
To the NDP: $2,500

Members of Winnipeg’s powerful Asper family have donated more than $165,000 to political parties over the past decade. Most of the donations were split between the Liberals and the Conservatives, although members of the family have also donated to the Green Party and the New Democratic Party. The donors list includes all three children of Canwest Global Communications Corp. founder Izzy Asper: daughter Gail, sons Leonard and David, along with their wives.


4. The Khosrowshahi Family - $143,000
To the Liberals: $90,000
To the Conservatives: $53,000

The B.C. family that founded Future Shop oversees a diverse empire of businesses involved in the pharmaceutical and music industries along with real estate. Patriarch Hassan Khosrowshahi also sits on the board of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and is a director of the Bank of Canada. The donations also come from his wife, Nezhat, and children Behzad and Golnar.


5. Bernard and Jacques Lamarre – $99,800
To the Liberals: $70,000
To the Conservatives: $24,000
To Bloc Québécois: $5,800

The brothers who presided over Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin have donated more than $68,000 in the past decade, with almost twice as much going to the Liberals as to the Conservatives. The donations include those from Jacques Lamarre’s wife, Céline Robitaille Lamarre.


6. Eliott Lifson – $77,600
Liberal: $43,000
Conservatives: $27,000
Bloc Québécois: $4,100
NDP: $3,500

Mr. Lifson is the president of the Canadian Apparel Federation, a lobby group, and the vice-president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. Along with his wife, Carol, the couple have donated to the Conservatives, Liberals and Bloc Québécois.


7. Leonard Gustafson – $59,000
To the Conservatives: $59,000

The retired Saskatchewan senator was appointed to the Privy Council by Stephen Harper in 2008. Along with his wife and children, the family has been one of the Conservative Party’s most generous donors.


8. Donald K. Johnson – $59,000
To the Conservatives: $38,000
To the Liberals: $21,000

The former president of Burns Fry Ltd., which was acquired by Bank of Montreal, Mr. Johnson is now a board member and philanthropist who has long argued for the federal government to make it easier for Corporate Canada to give to charity. He has donated $60,000 to political parties, including roughly $38,000 to the Conservatives and about $21,000 to the Liberals.


9. Paul Hill – $51,400
To the Conservatives: $28,000
To the Liberals: $23,000
To the NDP: $400

Mr. Hill is CEO of Saskatchewan’s Hill Companies, whose business interests include real estate, insurance and broadcasting. Along with his wife Carol, the couple have donated more than $50,000 to federal parties, favouring the Conservatives.


10) Richard Renaud – $59,000
To the Liberals $35,300
To the Conservatives: $23,700

The Montreal businessman, philanthropist and founder of the Roasters Foundation donated nearly $60,000, with the largest share going to the Liberals.

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