Tories bested Liberals in pre-election fundraising, NDP and Green lagged behind

Federal party leaders Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh pose for a photograph before the Federal leaders debate in Gatineau, Que. on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. Justin Tang/CP

OTTAWA — Money raised by federal political parties spiked in the run-up to the Oct. 21 election, but the Conservatives and Liberals raked in most of the dough, leaving their already impoverished rivals in the dust.

Financial returns for the third quarter of 2019 filed with Elections Canada show the Conservatives, the perennial fundraising champs, pulled in a cool $10.1 million from almost 62,000 donors between July 1 and the end of September.

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The Liberals weren’t far behind, raising $7.3 million from just over 53,000 contributors.

By contrast, the NDP collected $2.65 million from almost 21,000 donors, just $50,000 more than the Greens collected from just over 21,000 contributors.

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All the parties engaged in frenzied fundraising in the weeks leading up to and during an election campaign, which typically yield substantially more money than can be raised in non-election years.

That held true for all four national parties this time. But the fundraising pattern — the NDP and Greens lagging far behind the two front-runners — remained unchanged from the past few non-election years.

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Both of the smaller parties were at a significant disadvantage heading into the campaign, having raised much less money than the Liberals and Conservatives. Early this year, the NDP, which has struggled with dismal fundraising results, took out a $12 million mortgage on the party’s national headquarters in Ottawa to help foot the costly campaign bill.

Just how far the NDP’s fortunes have fallen can be seen by comparing the $2.65 million raised during the third quarter this year with the whopping $9.1 million the party raised during the same period before the 2015 election, when the NDP was perceived to have a real shot at forming government.

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The Conservatives, Liberals and Greens, meanwhile, all pulled in roughly the same amount of money in the run-up to this year’s election as they did during 2015.

Still, the latest returns do not include the final three weeks of the campaign, during which the NDP enjoyed a small bounce in support. The party says donations spiked following Jagmeet Singh’s lauded performance in the televised leaders’ debates in early October.

In the end, the Liberals emerged with a minority government with 157 seats. The Conservatives won 121, the NDP 24 and the Greens 3.

The Bloc Quebecois, which ran candidates only in Quebec, won 32 seats. The separatist party raised just over $500,000 in the third quarter from almost 3,600 donors.

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