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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is interviewed on Parliament Hill on Dec. 10, 2013. (SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is interviewed on Parliament Hill on Dec. 10, 2013. (SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Liberals race to beat Tories in last-minute fundraising push for 2013 Add to ...

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are hoping a last-minute fundraising surge will help the party beat the governing Conservatives in end-of-year fundraising.

Political leaders of all stripes were making a push for funds on New Year’s Eve, the last day for donations to be claimed in the current tax year. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s party typically dominates its rivals in donations, and is aiming to raise $2-million in its current “Seize the Moment” campaign.

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“We’re close to meeting our target – but we need a strong push to reach $2-million by tonight,” Conservative Party president John Walsh wrote to party faithful in a fundraising pitch Tuesday. “This is your last chance to be a part of our Seize the Moment campaign – we’re counting on you.”

But the Liberal Party was aiming to one-up the Conservatives, repeatedly citing their rivals’ $2-million goal in e-mails to Liberal supporters.

As of Tuesday, the Liberals had raised $2,174,634 in December from 32,107 donors – a figure they compared to the Conservatives’ $2-millon goal in a bid to keep donations flowing. It’s unclear what the timeframe for the Conservative campaign is.

“We know the Conservatives are fundraising aggressively – they’re not letting up either – and it’s very possible that they’ll still out-raise us. We have to finish strong and make sure that we come out on top,” Christina Topp, the Liberals’ senior director of fundraising, wrote in a fundraising e-mail Tuesday.

Earlier, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had sent out his own pledge.

“Whether you’re a lifelong Liberal or new to our movement, we have plenty to celebrate,” he wrote Tuesday morning, adding that the Conservatives have been “able to out-raise and outspend us month after month. That ends today. We can out-raise the Conservatives, but we all need to dig deep and chip in before our midnight deadline.”

The NDP, meanwhile, had a $750,000 goal for their current campaign. As of Tuesday afternoon, the party had raised $689,862, up from $283,642 three days earlier.

“We’re on the verge of our best online fundraising drive ever. But we’ll only make it if we all do our part in the final push,” NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said in one fundraising pitch earlier on Tuesday, which did not detail how much the party had raised so far.

In a follow-up response to questions from a reporter, NDP national director Nathan Rotman said: “We’re doing very well for end of year and expect to break online records.”

The Green Party, through the office of leader Elizabeth May, said it has raised $1.1-million in the past three months, which it says is 38 per cent higher than its previous best quarter. In total, the party has raised $2.1-million over the year, ahead of its goal of $1.5-million.

Comparing the campaigns is difficult, as it’s unclear when each began, and how much each party is raising over comparable time periods. However, the most recently quarterly updates showed the Conservatives raised a total of $3.4-million, the Liberals raised $2.2-million, the NDP raised $1.5-million and the Green Party raised $355,000.

The Conservatives didn’t respond to a request for an update on their fundraising totals on Tuesday. Conservative fundraising efforts are led by Senator Irving Gerstein, one of the many figures whose role in the Senate spending scandal is under scrutiny.  Mr. Harper has stuck by Mr. Gerstein amid ongoing questions about the repayment of Senator Mike Duffy’s expenses.

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