Sports tycoon David Braley, appointed to the Senate Thursday, acknowledges tens of thousands of dollars in donations to the 2004 leadership campaign of Prime Minister Stephen Harper – but says he also donated to two of his competitors.
In an interview, the owner of the Canadian Football League’s B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts confirmed donations of $30,000 each to Mr. Harper and Belinda Stronach, plus an unspecified donation to Tony Clement.
The self-described “middle-of-the-road Conservative” said he wanted to see the strongest possible field of leadership hopefuls in order to defeat the Liberals.
“There’s nothing wrong with donations. … I was supporting what I believed in and it worked,” he said.
The 68-year-old Mr. Braley noted his support of Conservative politicians runs deeper than recent political events.
In the 1960s, he said, he helped on the campaign of Lincoln Alexander, Canada’s first black MP. Since then, he has helped Conservatives in Hamilton and Burlington, Ont., on their campaigns and with fundraising.
“There’s no question. I had a very strong inclination toward the Conservative Party,” said Mr. Braley, who lives in Burlington but travels frequently to Vancouver, which he and his wife Nancy consider “a second home.”
As the Prime Minister’s Office announced Mr. Braley’s appointment, opposition Liberal researchers said he personally donated $16,500 to Mr. Harper’s 2004 leadership campaign and that his company Orlick Industries, an auto-parts manufacturer, donated another $30,000.