Canada tops the world in Movember prostate cancer fundraising campaign

When it comes to lip fuzz, Canadians punch above their weight.

They raised more than $32 million towards prostate cancer research and awareness during the annual Movember campaign, topping the world.

Thousands of men grew whiskers over the last 30 days, got donation pledges, and now will be shaving off their soup strainers to collect, CTV News says.

The precise total as of 9 a.m. eastern time Wednesday was $32,669,522. That's almost $10 million more than last year.

Canada managed to beat Australia, where the unique campaign originated.

One of Canada's top Movember fundraisers, Joel Carman, raised $40,000 on the strength of his luxuriant white moustache.

"It's been 44 years since I've had it," he told CTV's Canada AM as he prepared to have it shaved off on live TV.

"My daughter Amy has been dying to see me without a moustache for years," he said before the big shave. "Here it comes."

Movember has about 1.1 million participants each year. Movember Canada's national director said he believes the campaign is successful because it combines lighthearted fun with a serious cause.

Money raised goes to Prostate Cancer Canada, which says the disease is the most common form of cancer afflicting Canadian men. The agency says about 25,000 men will be diagnosed this year.

Many Canadian politicians joined in but the CBC News Inside Politics blog noted participation among federal MPs seemed divided along party lines.

"Looking around the Commons chamber, there is a sea of moustaches on the NDP benches, certainly a generous sprinkling in Liberal ranks, but amongst Conservatives, row upon row of clean shiny faces," Leslie MacKinnon wrote Wednesday. "The Conservative cabinet, the men, could be models in a Gillette ad, except for a few who already have moustaches."

The New Democrats topped the Parliament Hill fund-raising tally with $28,000, followed by the Liberals at $14,000 and the Conservatives at $9,000.

Tory team leader Ed Holder, London West MP, said he insisted on having only MPs on his team.

"The other teams are bigger, but they've added staffers, they added women MPs, and good for them by the way, but if you look at male MPs as your criteria, I think we all stack up pretty much the same," Holder said.

The Liberal team was headed by Papineau MP Justin Trudeau, who sported an Errol Flynn-style "hairy ribbon." He also chaired the umbrella group for all Hill teams, which collectively raised $63,000.

So why so few 'staches in the Tory cabinet?

"A lot of them travel abroad," one staffer said. "They don't want to be half-shaven, standing at a G8 summit."

However, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz raised $13,000 on a promise to shave off his existing moustache, which is not strictly in line with the rules that require a Movember moustache to be grown, then shaved.

"It's too bad we can't count his (Ritz's dollars) for our team, but it's a friendly rivalry, that's how I view this," said Holder.

"One of my dearest friends died of prostate cancer. I sat with him every day and it was horrible. This is about doing the right thing, it's about trying to bring awareness, it's about trying to have fun with a serious issue."