Canada's Conservative Party sets fundraising records as election looms

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Conservative Party of Canada outpaced the governing Liberal party of Canada by C$3.5 million ($2.7 million) in second-quarter fundraising, financial returns showed on Wednesday, ahead of an October national election.

FILE PHOTO: Conservative leader Andrew Scheer speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada June 19, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party face a tight re-election race against Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, opinion polls show. Canadians head to the polls on Oct. 21.

The filings are probably the last political fundraising updates released by Elections Canada, a non-partisan agency which regulates and conducts federal voting, before the ballot.

The latest quarterly financial returns show the Conservative Party of Canada raised C$8.5 million in contributions from some 53,000 individual donors in the second quarter, a record for the April-June period, the party said.

“These fundraising results show that momentum is firmly on our side,” Scheer said in a release.

Filings show the Conservatives raised C$16.5 million in the first six months of the year, which the party said was another record, and nearly $3 million more than was collected in the same period of 2015, ahead of the previous national election.

In comparison, the Liberals pulled in C$5.0 million in individual contributions from more than 41,500 donors, up from C$3.9 million in the first quarter, bringing its total for the first six months of the year to more than C$8.9 million. The Liberals said its second-quarter results was a party record for the time period.

“Liberals are starting this important election campaign with new records for grassroots fundraising and incredible hope and hard work by volunteers in communities across Canada,” said Suzanne Cowan, the party’s president.

Meanwhile, two left-leaning parties that could lure votes away from the Liberals are pulling in more cash, too.

Canada’s left-wing New Democratic party are in a battle for third place with the Green Party of Canada. The NDP gathered C$1.4 million in individual donations in the second quarter, up slightly from the C$1.2 million in the first three months of the year.

In comparison, donations surged for the Green Party of Canada. The environmentalist party reported an 83% jump in donations in the second quarter, raising more than C$1.4 million compared to the C$783,283 in the first quarter.

In Quebec, the federal Bloc Quebecois, which could further split the vote in that province, reported C$514,016 in individual donations in the second quarter, up from C$215,421 in the previous quarter.

Reporting by Kelsey Johnson; Editing by Marguerita Choy