Doug Ford's PC party holds blistering lead in 2019 fundraising

Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative Party is out-fundraising its political opponents by a factor of 10 so far this year, racking up a war chest that is poised to grow even larger this week.

Progressive Conservatives have collected 10 times the amount of the NDP, Liberals combined

Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives will on Wednesday hold what they are calling the biggest fundraiser in the party's history: a $1,250-a-plate dinner at the Toronto Congress Centre. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative Party is out-fundraising its main political rivals by a factor of 10 so far this year, racking up a war chest that is poised to grow even larger next week. 

The PCs have reported a total of $506,118 in political donations in 2019, according to current figures in the Elections Ontario database. By contrast, the New Democrats and Liberals combined have raised less than one-tenth that amount. 

  • The NDP has reported $30,271 in donations from 222 donors.
  • Ontario Liberal Party: $20,081 from just 38 donors.
  • The Green Party of Ontario has raised $10,310 from 32 donors.

On Wednesday, the PCs will hold what they are calling the biggest fundraiser in the party's history: a $1,250-a-plate dinner at the Toronto Congress Centre. 

"Doug Ford and our Ontario PC Caucus accomplished a great deal in 2018," says the invitation on the party's website.

"There is much more to achieve in 2019, and to continue getting things done for the people, we need your help to build up our Party's financial resources as quickly as possible."

Andrea Horwath's New Democrats party out-fundraised the Ontario Liberal Party in 2018 and remain ahead of the Liberals so far this year, but are well behind the PCs. (Galit Rodan/Canadian Press)

To be the biggest fundraiser in the party's history, the dinner would have to raise more than the record $2 million that Patrick Brown brought in during his Toronto leader's dinner in 2016.

Ford's party is trying to build on its fundraising momentum from the election year of 2018, during which the PCs amassed far more in donations than all the other parties combined. 

The PCs raised $9.2 million in 2018, according to data compiled by CBC News from the Elections Ontario website, tallying donations at all levels: to the provincial party, to riding associations and to individual candidates. 

Total donations to the NDP in 2018 amounted to $4.2 million, according to the Elections Ontario database. The Liberals reported $3.5 million in donations and the Green Party $1.05 million.

The PC party's 2018 fundraising total included $5.5 million logged as election-period donations and $3.7 million reported as annual contributions.

That's separate from another $2.4 million raised in 2018 by the four candidates in the PC party leadership race: Ford, Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney and Tanya Granic Allen. 

The PCs have been the top fundraisers in each of the past three years, amassing a record $12.9 million in 2016 and collecting more than the Liberals and NDP combined in 2017 

All parties are raising far less now than they did before 2017, when the Wynne government banned corporate and union donations.

To make up the shortfall, each party now gets an annual per-vote allowance funded from the provincial treasury, but Ford has promised to end that practice. 

Per-vote subsidies to each party in 2019 will be: 

  • PC: $5.5 million.
  • NDP $4.6 million. 
  • Liberal $2.7 million. 
  • Green $628,000.


Mike Crawley

Provincial affairs reporter

Mike Crawley is a senior reporter for CBC News, covering provincial affairs in Ontario. He has won awards for his reporting on the eHealth spending scandal and flaws in Ontario's welfare-payment computer system. Before joining the CBC in 2005, Mike filed stories from 19 countries in Africa as a freelance journalist and worked as a newspaper reporter in B.C. He was born and raised in Saint John, N.B.


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