Friday, October 30, 2009

Fundraising numbers

This is pretty significant:
Despite those troubles, the third-quarter results continue a trend in which the Liberals have been slowly but steadily closing the fundraising gap with the Tories.

Last year, the Conservatives raked in a total of $21.2 million - more than triple the Liberals' $5.9 million.

So far this year, the Tories have raised $12.8 million while the Liberals are not far behind with $7.6 million.
Raising, what, 60% of what the Conservatives are, not bad at all in comparison to the previous year. And if the Conservatives raise, say, $4 million in the next quarter, an approximate average of their first three quarters...then their yearly take will be in the $17 million range, down significantly from last year, albeit an election year. While this is good news on the fundraising rebalancing front, until there is virtual parity in fundraising among major political parties in Canada, the political debates we have are going to be impacted in not so healthy ways. Whether that's not having the funds to finance an election which impacts how a party votes in the House of Commons or not having the funds to compete in advertising, that's how it plays out.

Look at this recent American style issue-targeted campaign on the gun registry that the Conservatives are presently running. One viewpoint is being elevated above others, people listening can't help but take it in and make their decisions based on what they're hearing. If contrary viewpoints are absent or less present, that can affect the debate. That's pretty obvious, of course, but in the long term, skewed funding of one party over others is going to have an impact on who is setting the terms of our public debate. Is the gun registry really an issue Canadians want dealt with at the moment? Probably not a pressing item but very important to the Conservative base. We'll see whether the vote is affected this coming Wednesday.

That gun registry campaign, along with the sustained negative ad campaigns we've seen the Conservatives run outside of election periods, also bring home how the concept of national spending limits that kick in only during election write periods have been undermined. If you can advertise year round, year in and year out, and wage such issue oriented campaigns, the impact of a spending limit during a 40 day campaign is lessened. I don't know what the solution is exactly on that point, but it's something to think about.

A ways to go but the direction is good...