Conservatives say final months of 2020 a record for fundraising

·2 min read

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives say they raised more than $7.6 million in the final three months of 2020.

The figures come as all federal parties continue the work of prepping for a potential election this year.

The Conservatives said the first six months under their new leader, Erin O'Toole, netted $13.3 million for their party's coffers.

In a statement, O'Toole said the results were proof his message of a focus on the economy and job creation is resonating.

“The Liberals can focus on keeping their own jobs, Conservatives are focused on securing yours," he said.

Financial results for the final quarter of 2020 are also rolling in for the other parties.

Records for the Bloc Québécois show that party raised just over $961,000 in that period.

Who donates to the Conservative Party has been an issue in recent days over revelations that a known white nationalist contributed to the campaign for one of O'Toole's rivals in last year's leadership race.

The party has said that donation will be returned.

While the Conservatives raise most of their money via email or telephone campaigns, O'Toole has also been working the circuit for the last few months.

Elections Canada records show in the last quarter of 2020, there were days where he was doing as many as three virtual fundraisers, with donors asked to contribute $1,625 — the maximum annual individual donation in 2020 — to attend.

He was fundraising for the party, but also to pay off costs of his campaign.

Political parties must report on fundraising events with an entry cost over $200 if they are attended by certain prominent people, which includes the leader.

The reports don't just indicate the contribution, but who attended.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did do two virtual fundraisers — one on Sept. 10 and one on Nov. 26 — they weren't events that required a donation of over $200, so are not listed on the registry.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and her cabinet colleague Mona Fortier are the only two Liberal cabinet ministers who hosted events in the last quarter that hit the threshold.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also didn't host big-ticket fundraisers, and on Thursday said he prefers a different approach.

"What I’ve been doing are fundraisers where we have a group of people on a Zoom call, and I’ve been actually making the pitch myself to encourage people to donate," he said.

"And I’m happy to do that, I enjoy doing that, I love raising money for a cause that I believe in.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2020.

—With files from Christopher Reynolds

The Canadian Press