The recent dip in the Conservative party’s fundraising seems to be brightening the collective hopes—of pundits who support the Grits and Dippers—that the string of Stephen Harper election victories may come to an end soon. Feeding this optimism are financial reports posted on Elections Canada’s website this week.
Those reports show that the Conservatives raised $4.1-million in the fourth quarter, but for the first time in five years they didn’t take in more than 50 per cent of Canada’s political donations. They remain Canada’s best funded political party, however, it was their worst fourth quarter result since before Stephen Harper became prime minister.
The Liberals raised $2.8-million, their best fourth quarter result since 2006, and the New Democrats received $1.6-million, their worst result since 2007.
Given the intensity of efforts by Conservatives to keep their war chests topped-up during the period when they ruled with a minority and had to be prepared for an election that could have come at any time, it seems natural for them to have scaled back somewhat on their fundraising.
As to the Grits, that party just completed their biennial convention. With the attention such events attract, it is hardly a surprise they narrowed the fundraising gap.
For several years now, the Tories’ have outpaced the Grits by millions of dollars and such a disparity had to end sooner or later. Add into the mix the faltering of the NDP as official opposition, and the Liberals begin to look to potential donors like the de facto government in waiting.
The New Democrats’ third-place showing can be explained by need for their members to separately fund many long leadership campaigns. And, undoubtedly, choosing the uninspiring Nycole Turmel as interim leader has been a drag on NDP fundraising efforts.