03.04.2013 08:41 AM

150,000: what that means

That is a huge, huge number.  I was with Justin’s campaign guru, Gerald Butts, last week for lunch.  I told him I thought he’d do well with the social media contingent – but not this well!

To put it in context, here’s a snapshot at other such membership/leadership/supportership drives:

Now, the factor to keep in mind, of course, is that the 150,000 supporters Trudeau has brought in are not members in the traditional sense.  They did not pay to play.  They are unlikely to have as much commitment as the members of old.

But, that aside, it’s still an impressive number.  If I were any of the other contestants, this morning, I’d be thinking seriously about choosing discretion over valour.

UPDATE:  Any one with cited examples of numbers achieved in other leadership races (including in the U.S.), please feel to add in comments.  I will then check them out and place them on the bulleted list, above.



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    Michael says:

    I had this discussion with my son this morning. He is not in favour of the supporter category. He thinks they won’t have the same commitment as members, and that it makes it too easy for someone with neferious intent to get involved in the leadership process.

    So I asked, what does a membership cost these days, $10 or $20 a year? Is that really that big of a barrier? Does plunking down $20 real involve that much of a commitment?

    In most leadership races of the past, like in the recent OLP race, all of the campaigns would try to sign up new members. “Rent a members” as I call them. Most of these people were not members in the past, most never renew. Are they really any different than the new supporters?

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    Sb says:

    I will have to look for source, but I beleive thwe over all membership number preceding the Dion convention was on the order of 175,000.

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    bigcitylib says:

    You pay $10 for a ticket, you make sure you go to the show. You get one free, who knows…

    I always point out here that the NDP’s live on-line vote was 1/10th of what it was expected to be. I don’t know why the Libs should expect better. Although, with a number that large, its still probably enough for JT to win handily.

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      Michael says:

      $100 maybe. $10 not so much.

      During the OLP leadership our PLA membership effectively doubled. Roughly half of eligible voters cast ballts at the LEM. So many of those that paid $10 to become a member did not bother to cast a ballot. And I will bet dollars to donuts that come Jan 1, 2014 they will not renew those memberships.

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    Robin says:

    The supporter category actually says costs for leadership campaigns since campaigns may cover the cost of a membership for people who are willing to support the candidate but don’t want to pay for a membership.

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      Michael says:


      I am sure the lawyers will correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t it against the law to pay for someone else’s membership?

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    And you thought you’d never get to see a party half-pregnant…

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    Arnold Murphy says:

    I like the idea of free memberships, as long as a person is guaranteed to only hold one membership to one party at a time. I think although a barrier of 10.00 is low, it is still a barrier and as such a violation of the Charter which guarantees a citizen the right to be a member of a political party and to run a party. Of course there are other factors that bother me as well, consider the 1000 dollar candidate entry fee the Conservatives burdened myself and one of two of my adversaries with, later to find out that Randy Hoback had a dark horse agreement with Al Jurgens the other candidate to split the vote against me. It was really interesting to eventually see that Elections Canada did not register Al Jurgens as a candidate officially, and on the nomination according to the Elections Canada website I ran against one man, Randy Hoback. If I had ran against one man, had he and the party been ethical in their nomination practices, I would have won. There are many levels of cheating that can be achieved through false memberships, fast memberships and unaccountable memberships, but they only occur when they are allowed to occur by either a corrupt party or by incompetent Elections Canada staff. It is I believe time for our elections to be monitored by third parties, we can no longer trust our politicians or their loyal followers to play fair.

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    Anish says:

    My understanding is that during the CPC leadership race that there were about 250,000 memberships sold with about 100,000 people voting in the proportional ballot that elected Stephen Harper.

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    Mark says:

    Is there a number given for those, like myself, who signed up as a supporter through the main site, thus unaffiliated?

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    dave says:

    Might be interesting after the leadership vote has been tallied to split it up, – who did the Lib Party members vote for, and who did the Lib Party supporters vote for?

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    Bluegreenblogger says:

    The number, 150,000 is somewhat smaller than I expected, but it is very respectable. There were 55,000 non-affiliated supporters in early January. Add in the other leadership teams, and I guess there will be 250,000 new supporters enetred into the new Liberalist database. That is an awesome legacy of this Leadership contest. We know that out of 45,000 supporters that existed in December, somwhere around 1.5% – 2% became first time donors to the Liberals (NOT to the leadership candidates, but to the Party itself. There was a fundraising email to supporters that quanitified this). The average donation was about $50. The Liberal Party would be nuts not to work out every method and means they can possibly think of to keep supporters signing up right until 2015 election. I can tell you for certain that the Green Party raises a million bucks per annum from their crappy database of supporters. Liberalist already makes the GPC data pale by comparison. (I can hardly believe that I am holding up the GPC as a model for the Liberals, but hey, the truth is the truth, wherever the info comes from). Put this kind of data into the hands of a professional team of political organisers, and you can literally change the world.

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    frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    Why I am voting for Justin(my dad is still spinning….lol)…..http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/03/03/the-quintessential-justin-trudeau-moment/

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    Elizabeth says:

    Cripes, it was just the G&M, I thought it was some underground publication.


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    Kalford says:

    Inquing minds want to know. . .Why does Justin have a special supporter sign up page just for the Carpenter’s Union of Ontario?

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      Bluegreenblogger says:

      Easy, because the Carpenters union sent out an email blast to their membership endorsing Trudeau, and asking members to sign up as supporters, so the Trudeau campaign set up a custom landing page for clickthroughs. There was a Star article about it a few eeks ago.

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    Kalford says:

    And this is actually allowable under Election Canada’s prohibition of Union/corporate donations to federal campaigns?

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