Conservative fundraising lead in Sask. indicates 'strong appetite' for change in Ottawa: U of S prof

The Conservative Party of Canada is leading the race when it comes to party contributions across the country and the party has a sizeable lead over the Liberals, NDP and Greens when it comes to donations coming from Saskatchewan.

More than $830K contributed to parties from Saskatchewan

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has a sharp lead in Saskatchewan donations over five other parties, 39 days out from the next general election.

Political contributions data submitted to Elections Canada indicates four Canadian political parties received more than $830,000 in donations during the first two quarters of this year. There were 3,288 donations made and all of them were $200 or more. 

"The Conservatives are very strong in this province," said Joe Garcea, a political scientist at the University of Saskatchewan.

"Right now, there seems to be a strong appetite for a regime change, a government change in Ottawa."

The value of contributions made to parties from Saskatchewan makes up just a small portion of the total parties have raised across the county, or roughly 4.8 per cent, as $16.9 million has been collected from 67,879 donations.

The CPC has raised more than $634,000 from 2,193 donations in the province. The Liberals have raised more than $123,000 through 670 donations and the NDP has raised more than $60,000 from 364 donations. 

The Green Party of Canada has raised almost $12,000 from 61 donations with the Bloc Québécois recording no contributions from Saskatchewan.

"It's not surprising … and it's both in numbers of contributors, but also in terms of total number, that there's a lot of people giving a lot of money to the Conservative Party," Garcea said.

Garcea said one thing people might find surprising is the value of contributions given to the NDP from the province, but he said it's possible NDP supporters are focusing their contributions on the Sask. NDP rather than the federal party.

University of Saskatchewan political studies professor Joe Garcea said Saskatchewan voters and donors are indicating a desire for a regime change in Ottawa. (CBC)

No guarantee money will stay in Sask., finance expert says

Just because the CPC has raised the most money out of the federal parties in the province, it doesn't mean Sask. voters will see a rash of big Conservative rallies or events in the lead-up to Oct. 21 election day, according to an expert on campaign finance.

"One of the funny things about political donations is that they might come from Saskatchewan, but there's no guarantee that the Conservatives are going to spend the money in Saskatchewan," said Lisa Young, who is also a professor at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy. 

Donation numbers and donation amounts are worse predictors of what's going to happen in elections than opinion polls are.- Lisa Young, professor and campaign finance expert

Young said it could be the case money from supporters in Saskatchewan could be used to campaign in markets where the Conservatives are facing tougher campaigns.

"It could well be that money from folks in Saskatchewan is going to be spent in markets in Toronto where they're really tightly contested races."

Young noted it's impossible to predict the outcome of elections on contributions.

"Donation numbers and donation amounts are worse predictors of what's going to happen in elections than opinion polls are," she said. 

"Dollars aren't votes," echoed Ken Rasmussen, a professor of public policy at the University of Regina. 

He anoted there are only a few ridings in Sask. where there's a chance of turnover, including Saskatoon-West and Regina Lewvan, held by the NDP's Sheri Benson and former-NDP member Erin Weir. 

Rasmussen, who has donated money to the Sask. NDP,  noted the northern riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, held by NDP member Georgina Jolibois and Liberal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's riding in Regina—Wascana are also ones to watch. 

"It's going to be an interesting election, but only interesting in a couple of ridings in this province." 

He said seats currently held by the Conservative Party in Saskatchewan are "among the safest seats in Canada."


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