November 4, 2010 | 7 Comments
Numbers don’t lie. They just don’t. And what the numbers tell us is this: the Conservative Party is winning—and for the foreseeable future will continue to win—the fundraising battle against the Liberal Party.
This is not a passing moment that we can dismiss as a fleeting fancy. Quite the contrary, the Conservative Party’s dominance in fundraising is now the new reality in Canadian politics.
For years, the Liberal Party recorded fundraising totals that often rivaled what all other parties raised combined. That was before former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s Liberal Party passed a new law that changed the rules of the fundraising game. Since then, the Liberal Party has slowly but steadily seen its fundraising numbers erode to the benefit of the Conservative Party.
The last two years demonstrate just how deeply entrenched this new political reality appears to be. Consider two comparisons.
This first table below (compiled from data freely available at the Elections Canada website) compares fundraising totals, in millions, reported by the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party since September 2008:
This second table compares fundraising totals, by the number of donors, registered by the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party:
Quarter—Liberal Party—Conservative Party
This is not a pretty equation for the Liberal Party.
More donors—sometimes three times as many—are drawn to the Conservative Party than the Liberal Party. This has helped the Conservative Party raise consistently twice as much—and sometimes three times as much—as the Liberal Party.
What does the Conservative Party do with all this money? The Conservative Party pours it into its party infrastructure, makes disbursements to its riding associations, and invests it in candidate recruitment and development, all of which only lengthens the Conservative Party’s lead in institutional development over the Liberal Party.
With this new math, it is hard to see how the Liberal Party will return any time soon to the prominence it once enjoyed.