Tories rake in twice as much cash as Liberals, but Grits closing gap

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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OTTAWA - Stephen Harper's Conservatives continued to rake in more money than any other political party last year, but the Liberals are finally closing the fundraising gap.
According to financial statements filed with Elections Canada, the Tories pulled in $17.7 million in donations in 2009 - almost twice as much as the Liberals, who raised $9.6 million.
That's actually a big improvement for the Liberals since 2008, when the Tories raised almost four times more money.
The NDP raised just over $4 million last year and the Bloc Quebecois brought in $622,000.
Until 2004, the Liberals had been heavily reliant on big donations from wealthy individuals and corporations. Since then, they've had trouble adapting to political financing reforms which severely limited individual donations and banned corporate donations.
In 2008 - an election year, which usually helps parties fill their coffers - Liberals raised only $5.8 million, just slightly more than the NDP .
That they could almost double their haul in 2009, a non-election year, suggests Liberals are finally starting to figure out how to tap into small donations from a wider base of donors - something the Conservatives mastered years ago.
"We are the only major party in Canada to show growth year-over-year," said Liberal party spokesman Daniel Lauzon.
"We have work ahead of us but we're trending up."
The party has set a goal of raising $25 million a year by 2011 so it has a long way to go.
And Liberals will have to more than double their base of donors to catch up with the Tories, who tapped more than 154,000 individuals for money last year compared to 71,000 for the Liberals.
Except for the Liberals, all other parties' saw their donations drop last year from their election-fuelled results in 2008.
Still, the Tories say 2009 represents their best take ever in a non-election year.
And the NDP says it's fundraising in the last three months of 2009 was its best non-election fourth quarter ever.

Organizations: Conservatives, NDP, Elections Canada Bloc Quebecois

Geographic location: OTTAWA, Canada

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