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The Conservative Party of Canada finished 2012 with $12-million in net assets, its strongest financial position of the past five years and well above its rivals.
The most recent financial reports outline last year's revenues and expenses, including the year-end balance, giving a snapshot on everything from fundraising to office supplies.
All parties finished 2012 in the black, returning to normal non-election levels of spending after the 2011 election left war chests largely decimated.
Last year was a challenging one for the powerhouse Conservative fundraising machine. The party typically nets 104,000 donors per year, giving an average of $176. But the party netted just 87,306 contributors in 2012. Nevertheless, those donors wrote larger cheques, offering an average of $200 each for a total of $17.2-million in contributions.
Without a major target to attack in 2012, Conservatives also dialed back their typically high levels of ad spending, dropping just $1.4-million on ads for television, radio and other media. Compare this with 2009, when the party poured $4.3-million into television ads alone, attempting to define newly minted Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.
The Liberal Party finished 2012 in its best financial position of the last five years, with $2.9-million on the books and a balance of $7.9-million. This was supported by its soaring contributions levels, which should be credited to a protracted leadership race and Justin Trudeau's gift for fundraising. The party earned $7.8-million in general contributions, in addition to $1.3-million for "directed leadership contributions." Overall, the party's financial picture is the strongest since it ended 2007 with a $1.7-million deficit. Liberals had 44,466 donors in 2012, down slightly from the previous year but well above their average over the past five years.
The NDP finished 2012 with the smallest balance of the three, with just $2.9-million. The party took in $1.9-million more than they spent in 2012, also supported by its best fundraising effort in recent memory. The party found 43,537 donors, likely motivated by the party's own leadership contest, giving an average of $175 for a total of $7.7-million — a higher figure than they had even during the 2011 election. The party also turned up the volume on advertising, spending $1.7-million on television ads to help promote their newly installed leader Thomas Mulcair.
The chart below tracks the net assets for each party.
SOURCE: Elections Canada
This chart shows the excess of revenue over expenses for each year dating back to 2007.
Revenue and expenses
SOURCE: Elections Canada