OTTAWA — The federal New Democrats are having a difficult time catching up to their federal rivals in the fundraising department, as the party reports pulling in less than a million dollars from far fewer donors than the other parties during the second quarter of the year.
Quarterly fundraising returns posted on the Elections Canada website show the NDP raised $872,401 from 12,451 contributions over the three months which ended June 30.
The party has been plagued with financial woes ever since the 2015 federal election when the party plunged into debt. The years that followed saw major expenses, such as hosting a federal leadership race and holding national conventions.
The party's leader Jagmeet Singh has refused to accept a paycheque in his new position until the party's coffers are in better shape.
The NDP's quarterly posting is a bit better than last year, before the party elected Singh as leader. This time last year the NDP reported raising $825,985 from 12,448 contributors.
The first quarter was stronger for the party, when it raised $1,372,760 from 16,132 contributors.
Guillaume Francoeur, a spokesman for the NDP, called the fundraising trend "encouraging," noting that the second quarter numbers are better this year than last and that the party has raised half a million dollars more this year than it had at this point in 2017.
"It's also important to note that we have an internal policy of not fundraising in a province that is in the midst of an election period. It's just one way we supported (Ontario NDP Leader) Andrea Horwath in her mission to take on Doug Ford," said Francoeur.
The party is also on pace to repay its campaign loan in full in the coming months, he added, and the party is feeling "very positive about our fundraising as we enter an election year.
Liberals, Tories focused on 'wealthy and well-connected': NDP
"The Liberals and Conservatives continue to be focused on protecting the interests of the wealthy and well-connected, and their donors will thank them accordingly. We are proud to be standing up for everyday Canadians who don't have deep pockets to donate from," said Francoeur.
The Conservative party is leading the fundraising race, and reported pulling in $6,045,466 from 40,908 contributors — almost double the Liberals, who raised $3,099,217 from 31,692 donors.
Conservative party president Scott Lamb said the party has never in the party's history started a non-election year this strong.
"Since the election of Andrew Scheer as our leader, it hasn't just been improvements in our fundraising, but we've been setting new records in our fundraising," said Lamb.
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Braeden Caley, a spokesman for the Liberal party, said the party has seen consistent growth in fundraising support. Caley also took aim at Conservative Leader Scheer, accusing him of "doubling down on divisive politics" and "failed Harper-era policies."
The Green Party is not too far behind the NDP. It raised $572,869 from 7,734 contributors and Green Party spokesman Rod Leggett said surpassing the NDP in overall contributions in the near future "is not a stretch."
Leggett attributed the party's latest numbers to the surge in volunteers who have joined the party to fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The Bloc Quebecois raised $42,038 from 530 contributors.