File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS The Conservatives raised about $24.2 million from 104,000 donors in 2018, more than the $15.9 million the Liberals raised from 66,000 people, leaving the Tories with almost $9.9 million in cash compared to the $2.3 million held by the Liberals.

Parties’ financial returns show Tories topped Liberals in 2018 fundraising

OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives entered this election year having outpaced the Liberals in fundraising by more than $8.3 million in 2018, and with extra cash in the bank, the party’s financial returns show.

The Conservatives raised about $24.2 million from 104,000 donors in 2018, more than the $15.9 million the Liberals raised from 66,000 people, leaving the Tories with almost $9.9 million in cash compared to the $2.3 million held by the Liberals.

The Greens raised $3.1 million last year from 16,700 donors — their best showing in a non-election year — leaving them with about $1.1 million in cash, a small bump from 2017.

It was the fourth consecutive year that the Tories have out-fundraised the Liberals, based on a review of annual returns filed with Elections Canada. The parties must submit their annual numbers by July unless they receive extensions, as the New Democrats did this year.

The figures provide a window on the financial health of the parties as they ramped up fundraising efforts ahead of this fall’s federal election, when donations tend to jump as supporters rush to fill campaign war chests.

And they are also used by the parties to fuel calls for further donations and partisan attacks on their opponents.

The Liberals took aim at the amount the Conservatives spent to raise money, which the Tory documents list as being almost $8.5 million in 2018, up from the almost $7.2 million the party spent in 2017.

The Liberals spent almost $3.4 million to raise money in 2018, up from almost $2.8 million in 2017, which spokesman Parker Lund said shows the party delivers ”far more value” for individual donations.

For the Conservatives, the target was the two loans the Liberals took out last year through their lines of credit at two banks, which totalled $1.34 million. The Liberals also got more money sent to central party coffers from local candidates and riding associations, which pads the overall revenue figures.

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