#1May 7th, 2007
OTTAWA — Stephen Harper's Conservatives raised almost 10 times more money from 10 times more donors than the Liberals in the first three months of 2007.
Even the NDP — historically the poorest of the three main national parties — managed to raise twice as much money as the once-mighty Grits.
According to quarterly fundraising results, posted Tuesday by Elections Canada, the Liberals managed to raise only $531,141 from 4,365 donors.
By contrast, the Tories vacuumed up almost $5.2 million from more than 45,000 contributors. The NDP scooped up $1.2 million from almost 15,000 donors.
The Conservatives were quick to gloat.
“This is the worst quarterly filing for the Liberals since parties began filing these quarterly reports,” said party spokesman Ryan Sparrow.
Prior to political financing reforms in 2004, the Liberals were always the party most reliant on big corporate donations. Since then, they've had the toughest time adjusting to the ban on corporate contributions.
The Tories, with their populist Reform roots, made the transition almost seamlessly. They've perfected the art of raising small amounts of money from thousands of grassroots supporters.
Last year, the Tories raised almost $19 million, to the Grits' $11 million.
Since the election of new Leader Stéphane Dion last December, Liberals have redoubled their efforts to match the Tories' grassroots money machine. They've begun sending out weekly electronic pitches for donations and they've finally compiled a national membership list from which to launch grassroots fundraising drives.
However, the results from the first quarter of 2007 suggest the new techniques have not yet produced results.
Sparrow said the results demonstrate that “rank and file Liberals have lost confidence in the leadership of Stéphane Dion.”
Only the Greens and Bloc Quebecois pulled in less money than the Grits.
The Bloc — which operates only in Quebec and gets more than enough money strictly from the public subsidies paid to parties — raised just under $35,000.
The Green party, which has yet to win a seat in the House of Commons, raised almost $155,000.