NDP exceed fundraising goal in December, still far behind Liberals and Conservatives

Watch above: NDP leader Tom Mulcair discusses fundraising, pipelines and policy ambitions on The West Block with Tom Clark.

OTTAWA — With some $800,000 to add to the bank account, the NDP exceeded its fundraising goals for December—but the party still trails far behind the fundraising efforts of the Conservatives and Liberals.

The official Opposition met its fundraising goal of $750,000 for December and even squeezed out an extra $50,000 from its supporters in a year-end online campaign, NDP leader Tom Mulcair said in an interview on The West Block with Tom Clark.

The Liberals, meanwhile, collected $2.2 million as of the morning of Dec. 31, with the goal of raising more than the Conservatives, who have not yet tallied their donations, but said “with certainty” they met their goal of $2 million.

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Still, the NDP is content with its position, with Mulcair describing the run as “fantastic.”

WATCH above: The top federal parties are trumpeting December as their most ambitious fundraising month to date. Where were the parties before the fundraising drive? 

“We are going to keep talking to our base, which is very large across Canada, but tends to deliver in bite-sized chunks, not the $1,000-donations some other parties seem to favour,” Mulcair said.

The lower numbers don’t put his team at a disadvantage, he said, noting the party will have enough in its purse by 2015 to spend the maximum amount allowed for federal campaigns under election laws.

“We’re doing well … we’re in a better position now than we’ve ever been in our history,” he said. “Our base is strong, our fundraising is the strongest it’s ever been, and we’re the official Opposition for the first time. So people are looking at us differently.”

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With his eye on the seat across from his in the House of Commons and the keys to 24 Sussex Dr., Mulcair is now looking at what his first budget might entail.

In a year that saw a devastating and tragic train derailment, and continued fallout from the largest beef recall in Canadian history, the NDP leader said his priorities lie in ensuring the health and safety of Canadians.

Mulcair pointed his finger to self-regulating food and rail industries as reasons for both concerns.

“Why do governments exist? Well there’s nothing more important than ensuring that the food Canadians put on their table is safe. People have to be safe in their communities from a rail disaster. Those are the functions of government,” he said. “Those would be our priorities in creating the next budget when we would form a government in 2015.”