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The Globe and Mail

NDP posts record fundraising haul as small donations turn to big gains

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair is shown in his office at Parliament Hill on Dec. 4, 2013.


They fell far short of the Liberals and the Conservatives, but New Democratic Leader Thomas Mulcair is celebrating a record monthly fundraising haul by his party driven by "bite-sized chunk" donations from NDP faithful.

The Official Opposition took in $800,000 for the final month of 2013, ahead of their $750,000 goal, and set a party record in online fundraising, Mr. Mulcair told Global News's The West Block on Sunday.

The figure was, however, well back of his two biggest rival parties, with the Liberals and Conservatives each saying they topped the $2-million mark in the month. The NDP, with 100 MPs, only just beat the two-MP Green Party, which says it brought in $736,000 that month.

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Mr. Mulcair brushed aside his rivals' sums, telling Global his party's modest total was partly because NDP supporters tend to donate smaller amounts, but said the party still has broad support and pledged it wouldn't hold back on spending in 2015.

"We are going to be able to spend the full maximum amount in the next campaign, no problem at all," Mr. Mulcair said. "But we're going to keep talking to our base, which is very large across Canada but tends to, you know, deliver in bite-sized chunks, not the thousand-dollar donations some other parties seem to favour."

The Conservatives and Liberals were in a fundraising horse race in December. The Conservatives, who typically bring in the most money from donors, had set a $2-million target. "I can say with certainty that we met our goal of $2-million in December," Conservative party spokesman Cory Hann said in an e-mail Sunday, though he did not provide a final total.

As of midday Dec. 31, the Liberals had raised $2,174,634, after urging their supporters in a series of messages to make a push to out-raise the Conservatives. On Sunday, the Liberals declined to release a final total. "I can tell you that we are very proud of how we worked and what we raised in the last year and are already focused on analyzing results from last year and working on our plan for 2014," party spokeswoman Andrée-Lyne Hallé said.

As of the evening of Dec. 31, the Green Party had raised $736,000 in December, ahead of their monthly goal of $312,000. The party added former Independent and NDP MP Bruce Hyer during the month, increasing the size of its caucus to two.

Mr. Mulcair was undeterred, saying the NDP – which had its best-ever showing in the 2011 election to gain Official Opposition status – is in good shape.

"We're in a better position now than we've ever been in our history. Our numbers are good, our base is strong, our fundraising is the strongest that's it's ever been. And we're the Official Opposition for the first time so people are looking at us differently," he said Sunday.

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While Mr. Mulcair suggested NDP supporters tend to donate smaller sums, recent figures show the Liberals and NDP take in similar donations, on average. For the quarterly period ending in September, 2013, fundraising totals submitted to Elections Canada show the NDP raised $1.5-million from 21,788 contributors, an average of $70 per donor. The Liberals raised $2.2-million from 30,108 contributors in the quarter, or $72 per donor. The Green Party raised $355,000 from 4,722 contributors, or $75 per donor. But the Conservatives were well ahead in gross revenue and average – raising $3.4-million from 28,968 contributors, or $119 per donor.

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