The PM wants to stay ahead of Trudeau
Stephen Harper cracks a smile for us
It’s money, not fancy political speeches that win elections in Canada.
Money buys TV ads that win elections. But they cost an arm and a leg. A 15-second national TV ad can cost $ 75,000.
That's why political parties work so hard at raising money.
Since he came to power in January 2006, Stephen Harper and his Conservatives have always outperformed the Liberals at collecting partisan political contributions.
But things have changed. For the first time this past year, the Liberals under their new leader Justin Trudeau threaten to catch up and even surpass the Conservatives.
Three days before the end of December 2013, the Liberals had raised $ 1,854,902 during the previous three months and were almost nose to nose with the Conservatives.
The Liberals were trying hard for another $ 145,098 in donations so they could tie the Conservatives at an even $2 million in the last quarter of the year.
Harper did not hide his concern. He circulated a letter informing supporters: "The success of our Party over the past 10 years stems from our ability to consistently collect more funds than the Opposition."
The letter sent a clear warning:
" Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have made election funding their top priority and are working hard to close the gap. This should not happen. "
There’s also something else. After he came to power Harper began reducing the annual government funding to political parties. They used to get $2 from the puiblic treasury for every vote they got in the previous general election.
By next year that government handout to political parties will be down to 50 cents for each vote they get, and the year after that – 2015 -- it will disappear altogether.
That will make political parties totally dependent on the generosity of their supporters, not the public purse. No more handouts from Elections Canada.
The federal government will save nearly $ 30 million a year.
This is why the battle for partisan donations we saw this past year is only going to get even hotter in 2014.