The once mighty Liberal machine looked mighty ordinary from a financial standpoint in 2006. Elections Canada just released the 2006 annual financial returns for the major parties and, according to those returns, just 24,967 Canadians donated any money to Liberal party last year. By comparison, more than 25,000 Canadians kicked in some cash to NDP coffers.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives led all challengers with nearly 109,000 individual Canadians cutting a cheque to that party.
The Bloc Quebecois found just over 6,000 people who wrote cheques while the Green Party found 9,600 who wrote cheques.
As far as overall contributions go — and remember, contribution laws changed in mid-year — the Conservatives easily led the pack with $18.6–million raised in 2006. The Liberals did less than half that — just over $9–million. Many Liberal donors, though, would have been touched to help with one leadership race or another. The NDP raised $3.97–million; the Greens raised $832,630 and the Bloc raised $529,513.
Also of some note, the Liberal Party finished 2006 with a balance of $4.5–million. The Conservatives finished the year $5.4–million in the black.
In a press release, the Liberals said they finished the year with more than 200,000 party members. Conservative Party spokesman Ryan Sparrow said the Liberal’s membership numbers would have been helped by the leadership races. He declined to provide the number of Conservative party members at the end of 2006 but said it would be well above their number of financial contributors (109,000).