The P.E.I. Progressive Conservative Party has a new leader who's already outlining some of the elements that will make up the party's platform going into the next provincial election.

But before James Aylward leads his troops in another attempt to unseat the governing Liberals, the party needs to pay off the debt it amassed campaigning in the last provincial election.

According to party treasurer Ryan Pineau, the PCs are holding about $170,000 in bank debt from the last election.

That's down from the $400,000 in debt he says the party had immediately after the election.

New leader should boost fundraising, party says

​Pineau said having a permanent leader in place should provide a financial boost.

"We're coming off a leadership convention where we've got a permanent leader in place, and that often is the precursor to increased fundraising," said Pineau.

"People tend to get more involved when they know who they're supporting."

Kerry Campbell/CBC

Pineau believes having a permanent leader for the PCs will help bring in a steadier stream of donations. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

But there are also other factors making it more challenging for the Tories to pay down their debt.

Pineau said the party deferred some loan payments to be able to pay for a 2016 byelection in the district of Summerside-Wilmot.

On a related note, another byelection to be called in the coming months following the resignation of former education minister Doug Currie, could add to that list of debt as well.

Liberals raise, spend more

The Tories and their candidate spent $19,401 in the race for Summerside-Wilmot, outspent by the victorious Liberals whose bill came to $33,269.

The Tories were outspent in the last two provincial elections by a similar margin, the Liberals spending more than $3 for every $2 spent by the Tories.

In 2016, the Liberals brought in more than twice as much in political donations as did the Tories — and not for the first time.

Treasurer for the Liberals Neil Handrahan told CBC News that party was debt-free as of December 31, 2016.

New PC leader against allowing corporate donations

While the PCs look for ways to find funds, their leader is suggesting no Island political parties should receive donations from corporations and unions.

'Regardless of what the party has to say, I'm still accountable to Islanders in general.' —James Aylward

 "I'm a firm proponent on not allowing corporate [or] union donations," Aylward said, adding that he didn't allow corporate or union donations to his leadership campaign.

During that campaign, he says he "heard a lot of people say that they aren't happy with corporate donations" and that "people are very suspicious of particular corporate donations coming in."

Liberals backtracked on pledge

In 2016, Liberal premier Wade MacLauchlan said his government would get rid of corporate and union political donations.

But later the premier backtracked.

He said his government would bring in limits on all political donations but wouldn't ban corporations from contributing.

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan in Ottawa

MacLauchlan and the Liberals will square off against the other parties vying for the seat of former Liberal minister Doug Currie. (CBC)

A CBC News analysis found 61 per cent of donations to the Liberals in 2015 came from corporations and unions, followed closely by the PCs at 57 per cent.

Aylward said he hasn't spoken with the PC party about the issue but will consider making the ban part of the party's upcoming election platform.

"Certainly I'm going to talk to the party about it … but I'm representing all Islanders as the official leader of the Opposition," he said.

"Regardless of what the party has to say, I'm still accountable to Islanders in general."