Follow the money - Macleans.ca

Follow the money

Politics is largely about the benjamins

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Alice Funke has loaded the latest quarterly returns into her fundraising database, which helps put in perspective just how lucrative the fourth quarter of last year—and the year of 2013 in its entirety—was for all four federal parties.

The New Democrats ($3.7 million*) and Greens ($1.2 million) had their best quarters ever (or at least since quarterly data start being reported in 2005) and the Liberals ($4.7 million) had their best quarter since the fourth quarter of 2006 (when the Liberals had their last competitive leadership convention). And the Conservatives ($5.4 million) still won the quarter, the 28th-consecutive quarter in which they’ve raised the most money. The Liberals also finished with the most donors for the third-consecutive quarter.

That was enough to give the Conservatives their best non-election year since 2005. The Liberals, New Democrats and Greens just completed their best years, period, since 2005. And if my math is correct, the four parties combined for the most-lucrative non-election year since 2003 (before fundraising laws were reformed).

The larger hauls of the Liberals and New Democrats might suggest that the other parties are slowly (belatedly) catching up to the Conservatives, but the Conservative haul, in a year that was otherwise supposed to be their worst since forming government, seems a reminder of the party’s continued strength. All of those numbers presumably have implications for the permanent campaign and the way politics gets done in this country.