04.01.2013 12:06 PM

Hill Times: True-dough


“Liberal front-runner Justin Trudeau has raised more than $1-million as a candidate for leadership of the third party in the House of Commons which “says a lot,” say a number of political observers and insiders.

“Money isn’t everything, but the fact that Trudeau has raised such an extraordinary amount—when his party is in a distant third place—says a lot. I don’t think anyone has ever done that before. It’s a huge amount of dough, raised by a guy who is just an MP with the third-place party,” said Warren Kinsella, president of the Daisy Consulting Group and a former adviser to prime minister Jean Chrétien. “That’s amazing, frankly.”

Mr. Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) has raised $1,001,060.37 from 7,009 contributors, according to the first of four weekly financial reports filed with Elections Canada. Political observers told The Hill Times last week that this is a feat because of the restrictions on political fundraising the Conservative government introduced when it came to power in 2006.

While former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff raised $1,037,186.24 in 2006 in his first weekly filing with Elections Canada, he did so from 1,959 people when the individual fundraising limit was still $5,000 and when the Liberals were still the official opposition. In 2009 when he ran again, Mr. Ignatieff raised $547,628.85 from 2,113, as shown in his first weekly filing, under new rules limiting individual donations to $1,000, adjusted to inflation. Today’s limit is $1,200.

Mr. Trudeau’s average donation is $143, which some people said last week is a reflection of the overall support he has across the country…

Mr. Kinsella said if the candidates have the money to spend the maximum, they should. “If you’ve got it, spend it. Otherwise, the party will just claw it all back, anyway,” he said.

Mr. Powers agreed: “Most good campaigns will get there. If they have the money there’s no real benefit in saving it. If you have the resources, and people have given you resources to run a campaign, then you should maximize every opportunity you have to do that because you only get one shot at it, and that’s the campaign, so you try and use the resources effectively to get that win.”

One insider said, however, that Mr. Trudeau will likely try not to spend all the money on his campaign, but rather save to it be in a good position to defend the party against Conservative and NDP attacks.

“I think the thinking is based on Dion’s and Ignatieff’s experience, he’s going to get hit with everything but the kitchen sink from the Tories, so he needs to frame and define himself and defend himself against that. That’s where that money will come in handy over the next year,” the insider said.

Mr. Kinsella said the “Just Visiting” ad campaign against Mr. Ignatieff in 2009 cost the Conservative Party approximately $4-million. The Liberals don’t have that kind of money yet to mount their own campaign, Mr. Kinsella said, but “I am confident they will get it—paradoxically, the attacks are often useful in generating funds. We’ve learned that from the Conservatives, in fact.”


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    CuJoYYC says:

    “What’s so wrong with a Lib-Con merger since what’s left of the Liberal party is Blue Grits.”
    Simple. The Conservatives have Harper, Baird, Flaherty, Clement, Kenny, Poilievre, Rob Anders, Joe Oliver and the Michele Bachmann wannabe Joan Crockett to name but a few of the reasons not to merge. It’s bad enough that the old Progressive Conservative party suffered the reverse takeover by the very malcontents that split them apart in the first place. The whiners left and then returned to take over the Progressives that remained. We learn from the mistakes of others.

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