Alberta NDP received more political donations than the United Conservative Party in every quarter last year.
According to Elections Alberta quarterly reports, the Opposition NDP raised $3.3 million in Q4 — the last three months of 2022 — $1.4 million in Q3, $1.4 million in Q2 and $1 million in Q1.
Over the course of 2022, the party received $7.2 million in donations.
To compare, the UCP raised $2 million in Q4, $973,000 in Q3, $521,000 in Q2 and $888,000 in Q1. In total, for all of 2022, the party received $4.4 million in donations.
When comparing the size of donations, over the course of the year, the NDP collected $1.8 million in contributions of $250 and under, and $5.4 million in contributions over $250.
The UCP collected $1.8 million in contributions of $250 and under, and $2.6 million in contributions over $250.
Lisa Young, a University of Calgary political science professor, said these are big numbers.
“We don’t have the final numbers yet and we won’t until the end of March when we know how much the UCP raised through its constituency associations. The NDP doesn’t raise money that way, so we know their final number.”
Young said Albertans should not equate fundraising capacity with popularity of a party.
“But I think that what we can say here is that we’re gearing up for, I think, one of the most competitive elections that we’ve seen in Alberta in decades, and both parties have put quite a lot of attention onto fundraising and they’ve been quite successful in getting donations in this year leading up to the election.”
The next provincial general election is scheduled for May 29, 2023.
“Neither of these parties is going to have trouble spending the maximum allowed amount of money, and in fact, they’re likely to be spending quite a lot before the election even is called because they’re going to want to get their message out to voters, especially in Calgary, in the month leading up to the election,” Young said.
She also pointed out that the Chief Electoral Officer announced Wednesday that the spending limit for the election will be $3.2 million.
“Both of these parties have told us that they’ve been able to raise basically that amount in the fourth quarter before the year of the election. And so that tells you just how much money the parties are going to have to spend on advertising.”
“We’re very encouraged and deeply grateful to the many Albertans, the growing number of Albertans, who are choosing to contribute to our campaign,” NDP Leader Rachel Notley said at an unrelated news conference on Wednesday.
“What we’re hearing from them is they are desperate to see a return to stable, competent, caring government. They are deeply concerned about what things could look like if we get four more years of the same of what we have right now, which has been very chaotic and inward-looking and conflict-focused.”
Notley said that the NDP has also seen its volunteer base growing.
“We’re really grateful for that,” she said.
“We’ll keep doing what we’re doing and offering to Albertans a vision of a modern, positive future.”
In response to Global News’ request for comment, the UCP pointed to a news release sent earlier in January, which said 2022 was a record-breaking year for the party.
“Tens of thousands of Albertans stepped up and chipped in over $10.8 million in 2022 and helped secure a record annual total for our party, candidates and constituency associations,” the UCP said in a news release.
A UCP spokesperson explained that the quarterly reports from Elections Alberta only include money raised through the central party. They do not include money raised through membership sales or by constituency associations and candidates. The UCP has 87 local associations who are helping raise funds on top of what the party raises centrally.
“While we’re still adding up final numbers for our annual return to Elections Alberta, we expect to report nearly $7 million in donation and membership revenue for our party and constituency associations, and over $3.8 million from our leadership candidates,” the January UCP news release said.
Young said there have been times in recent years when the NDP has outperformed the Conservatives in fundraising.
“And so, what Danielle Smith is now able to say is that she’s closed that gap between the two parties in the fourth quarter.
“We don’t have the whole story,” Young added. “It’s too soon to look closely at the numbers and talk about trends.”