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Illustration by Anthony Jenkins (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)
Illustration by Anthony Jenkins (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

Liberals trumpet 'unbelievable' campaign fundraising gains Add to ...

Michael Ignatieff's Liberals have raised $1-million in the first four days of the federal election campaign - as much as they did in the first three weeks of the 2008 campaign under Stéphane Dion, according to the party president.

Alfred Apps suggests a combination of daily policy announcements as well as new television ads - which are playing in heavy rotation in Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba - are contributing to the increase. "It's wild," he said. "Unbelievable."

He said that since the election was called, "donations are coming into the national office at a rate of four times faster than 2008." Most notable, he added, are online donations.

"It seems that the Ignatieff ads, fighting back against the [Conservative] attack ads are having some real resonance," he said. "But our daily policy announcements appear to be giving us a bump, too."

Mr. Apps said he is basing his conclusions on the fact that donations "appear" to be coming in from the markets where the ads are playing most heavily.

Opinion polls, however, are not telling the same story. Although, the latest Nanos survey shows the gap closing, the Tories are still ahead of the Liberals nationally by about six points.

But Mr. Apps said the Liberal Party has also received emails saying, "I just heard about your pensions proposal and am sending a donation."

None of this, however, will change the party's spending plan for the election: It will spend the allowable limit of $20.5-million.

"But, if it continues like this we will come out of the election in a much better place financially than we had expected," he said. "I think the general perception among Liberal supporters out there is that the first few days have gone very well."

Mr. Apps noted that for the first quarter of this year - which ends Thursday - the Liberals will be "well ahead" of the first quarter of 2010 when they raised $1.4-million. And they will also be ahead of the first quarter of 2009, "our best year yet," when the Grits raised $1.8-million.

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