Kellie Leitch out with early lead in Conservative leadership fundraising

Ontario MP Kellie Leitch has raised more money than her rivals in the first months of the Conservative leadership race, just as her party raised more money than the Liberals. But Justin Trudeau's party is making inroads in the fundraising game as the Conservatives and NDP fall back.

Conservatives edge out Liberals in party fundraising but see big dip from last year

Conservative leadership contestant Kellie Leitch raised more money than rivals Michael Chong and Maxime Bernier in the second quarter of 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The first look at fundraising data for the Conservative leadership race shows Ontario MP Kellie Leitch off to an early lead over her rivals.

Elections Canada reports that in the second quarter of this year Leitch raised $234,785.59 from 334 donors, putting her well ahead of Maxime Bernier and Michael Chong, the two other leadership contestants who had entered the race before the end of the quarter.

Chong, an MP from Ontario, raised more money than Bernier, while the Quebec MP raised his money from a larger number of donors: Chong raised $84,689.38 from 141 contributors, while Bernier raised $56,902.83 from 218 contributors.

In total, the three leadership contestants raised $376,377.80. The Conservative Party has set the spending limit in the leadership race, which will end on May 27, 2017, at $5 million per candidate — so these candidates have a long way to go.

Ontario MP Tony Clement and Alberta MP Deepak Obhrai joined the race in July.

Conservatives dip in fundraising but still raise the most

The data from Elections Canada also showed that the Conservatives raised more money than the other parties in the second quarter of 2016, taking in $5,097,828.07 from 37,223 contributors and in transfers from leadership contestants. 

That put them ahead of the Liberals, who raised $4,970,039.25 from 36,080 contributors and transfers from electoral district associations and candidates, and the New Democrats, who took in $1,083,314.29 from 15,906 contributors (the NDP reported no transfers).

Including contributions and transfers, the Greens raised $661,374.09 from 8,809 contributors and the Bloc Québécois took in $129,970.79 from 1,254 contributors.

The Liberals saw the biggest increase in fundraising since the first quarter of 2016. Their haul was up about $913,000, compared to drops of $282,000 for the NDP and $374,000 for the Conservatives. 

Against the mark of the second quarter of 2015, in the run-up to last year's federal election, the Liberals raised about $762,000 more, while the Conservatives dropped by $2.3 million and the New Democrats by $3.4 million.

In fact, this past quarter was the worst for the NDP since September 2011. The Conservative total was its lowest since September 2014.


  • This article was updated to clarify that the fundraising totals include transfers from electoral district associations, candidates, and leadership contestants.
    Aug 02, 2016 3:04 PM ET


Éric Grenier

Politics and polls

Éric Grenier is a senior writer and the CBC's polls analyst. He was the founder of ThreeHundredEight.com and has written for The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post Canada, The Hill Times, Le Devoir, and L’actualité.


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