Public funding: Federal Conservatives are still ahead

The Conservatives are ahead of their game. | Photo courtesy of PM Web Photos, Flickr

The Conservatives are ahead of their game. | Photo courtesy of PM Web Photos, Flickr

If we are to believe what the country’s major media headlines have been saying for the last few months, the federal Conservatives are navigating in troubled waters. Indeed, news that the party is seriously losing ground appears to be the norm.

I side with those who think that the Harper government is, in fact, going through a tough time – nothing abnormal here, after many years at the helm, especially when we take into consideration that he has governed the country in a different manner than we’re used to. His agenda, with a particular focus on policies regarding law and order, his role on the international scene and his way of dealing with the environment are but a few examples. Canadians seem to be set up in two camps: some agree with his approach and others are radically opposed to it.

However, the party is, apparently, still able to motivate its base. This is, in any case, what transpires [a]from data collected by the site, regarding political parties’ financing. Indeed, the party led by Stephen Harper has once again proven to be the best at collecting funds from the population. For example, in the second quarter of 2013, it managed to accumulate twice the amount Justin Trudeau’s Liberals managed.

The Conservative Party’s ability to convince its partisans to keep funding it, even during a year with no forecasted elections, is altogether impressive. In fact, it’s been one of its best quarters. We must, however, take into consideration that this is partly due to subscriptions to the July Calgary convention, which, in the end, was cancelled.

All this at a time when the Liberals saw the arrival of a new, charismatic, leader. In fact, this could have, somewhat, been a contributing factor to the Conservatives’ performance. The party has become masterful in the art of fundraising. It doesn’t waste a minute before it starts taking advantage of any of its adversaries’ faux-pas, real or imagined, and get its members to reach for their wallet.

For example, financing managers didn’t waste any time last April, writing to their partisans and asking them for funds after hearing Justin Trudeau’s comments on the deep-seated root cause of acts of terrorism, following the attacks in Boston. Evidently, the strategy bears fruit.

That said, the Liberals have been successful in their fundraising since the coming of Justin Trudeau as their leader. Without a doubt, his presence has injected the party with a new vitality. An interesting fact, not that the Liberal Party is beating any records in terms of amassed money, but, and more importantly, I think the number of monetary gifts has significantly increased. A sign, perhaps, that Canadians are keeping a watchful eye on the party.

Translation Monique Kroeger