TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Postmedia Network Inc. (“Postmedia”) today announced the launch of the Follow the Money project, a database of political donations that brings together records from all provinces and territories in one easy-to-search tool – a first of its kind in Canada.
To bring real transparency to political financing, Postmedia’s 2017 Michelle Lang Fellow, reporter Zane Schwartz, spent a year tracking and gathering more than six million donation records that add up to a sum of about $2 billion. He then worked with data analytics experts at Qlik to develop simple apps to make the records searchable.
“There has been a wave of reforms to campaign fundraising in Canada. But accessibility has been very challenging in many parts of the country,” said Anne Marie Owens, Editor-in-Chief, National Post. “With elections coming up in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, this database couldn’t come at a more important time."
The Follow the Money database makes assembled donation records easily searchable online for the first time in: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
The database also includes records from Elections Canada and from provinces where political donations have already been digitized – making it the first centralized database with records of donations at both the federal level and in all 13 provinces and territories.
As Schwartz reports, this data shows the impact of money from all-but-anonymous numbered companies, the outsize influence of out-of-province donations and who the top donors are in each region of Canada.
Postmedia is also making available a downloadable version of this data so that other media, watchdogs, researchers and, most importantly, voters can conduct their own searches.
Critical to this project was Qlik's technical expertise and its Qlik Sense product, which normalized millions of rows of data and created search functions for users to look up donors and recipients by name, region, political party, type of donation and year.
“We know the power of data,” said Heather Gittings, Senior Director, Public Sector at Qlik, which serves 45,000 customers worldwide. “This is an exciting opportunity to use our expertise to help Canadians gain insight into their elected representatives."
As election and fundraising cycles continue, Postmedia intends to collaborate with political science professor Chris Cochrane at the University of Toronto to build on this important project, and to update the database annually, in conjunction with Zane Schwartz and with continued support from Qlik.
Visit the database at nationalpost.com/followthemoney
- Comprised of more than six million political donation records from across Canada
- Compares political fundraising across Canada
- Allows users to search by individual donor, politician, company
- Allows users to see which political party brings in the most money in each province
- Allows users to see the biggest donations to political parties
Read more Online and in Print:
- Why politicians may not want you to use this database: Funnelling, bundling, cash from foreign interests – see Zane Schwartz’s take on what can happen when no one is watching political donations, and how financing rules leave some voters more vulnerable to conflicts of interest than others.
- Who’s giving the most money to Canada’s political parties: Energy companies, banks, unions — see Zane Schwartz’s tally of the top ten biggest donors to political activities in all 13 provinces and territories.
- Data dive: Highlights from a decade of political donations, including which parties are bringing in the most money, the surprise backers in Justin Trudeau’s riding and what might motivate donors to give more — religion or sex.
About Postmedia Network Inc.
Postmedia Network Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Postmedia Network Canada Corp. (TSX:PNC.A, PNC.B), is a Canadian newsmedia company representing more than 160 brands across multiple print, online, and mobile platforms. Award-winning journalists and innovative product development teams bring engaging content to millions of people every week whenever and wherever they want it. This exceptional content, reach and scope offers advertisers and marketers compelling solutions to effectively reach target audiences. For more information, visit www.postmedia.com.
About the Michelle Lang Fellowship
An award-winning journalist with the Calgary Herald, Michelle Lang was killed while reporting from Afghanistan in 2009. This fellowship honours her life and work by giving outstanding university graduates with an interest in the media the chance to develop reporting skills, as well as a special project of social significance. Fellows split their year between the Calgary Herald and the National Post.
About Zane Schwartz
Zane Schwartz is the seventh Michelle Lang fellow. A graduate of the University of Toronto, he has worked as a staff reporter for Maclean’s magazine and has contributed to publications including The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star along with his year at Calgary Herald and National Post. He is currently working in Toronto.
Qlik® is the leading data analytics platform and the pioneer of user-driven business intelligence. Its portfolio of cloud-based and on-premise solutions meets customers’ growing needs from reporting and self-service visual analysis to guided, embedded and custom analytics, regardless of where data is located. Customers using Qlik Sense®, QlikView® and Qlik® Cloud, gain meaning out of information from multiple sources, exploring the hidden relationships within data that lead to insights that ignite good ideas. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Qlik does business in more than 100 countries with over 45,000 customers globally.
About Christopher Cochrane
An associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, Chris Cochrane and his colleagues run the Linked Parliamentary Data Project, which is working to link historical and contemporary data about Canadian parliamentarians and make that data available to the public. For more information, please visit www.lipad.ca.