OTTAWA — The Conservatives continued to raise more money than any other federal party during the third quarter of the year but the ruling Liberals closed the gap somewhat.
According to financial returns filed with Elections Canada, the Conservatives raked in $3.6 million from July to the end of September, from more than 32,000 donors.
The Liberals were close behind with $3.1 million from almost 30,000 donors.
The New Democrats continued to lag well behind, raising just over $1 million from close to 20,000 donors.
However, another $835,000 was pulled in by NDP leadership contenders.
The Conservatives raised almost twice as much as the Liberals in the first quarter of 2017, when the ruling party froze fundraising events featuring the prime minister and cabinet ministers as it developed new rules for such events.
That gap narrowed in the second quarter — with the Tories taking in $4.1 million to the Liberals' $3 million — and again in the third quarter.
Liberal party spokesman Braeden Caley argued the Liberals are the only major party to see an increase in fundraising from one quarter to the next throughout 2017, while the Conservative haul has "dropped significantly" in each quarter.
However, the Conservatives boasted that they just posted their best third quarter results since losing the election in 2015.