Manitoba's governing Tories raising a lot more money than opponents

Manitoba's governing Tories raising a lot more money than opponents

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s governing Progressive Conservatives are widening their cash advantage over the opposition parties.

New documents filed with Elections Manitoba show the Tories raised $2.3 million through contributions and fundraising last year.

That is more than triple the $700,000 raised by the NDP and more than ten times the Liberal tally of $158,000.

The Tories finished the year with $1.1 million in cash, compared to $86,000 for the NDP and $54,000 for the Liberals.

The Tories used to raise about double what the NDP did, but have been in government since 2016 and raised donation limits the following year.

Paul Thomas, a political analyst at the University of Manitoba, says the extra money gives the Tories a big edge heading into the next election in October 2020.

“It means you can bombard voters with more messages, you can hire more staff, you can have more organizational capacity to do all sorts of things,” said Thomas, a professor emeritus of political studies.

“It doesn’t guarantee success, but it’s better to have more money than less money.”

Since coming to power, Premier Brian Pallister has eliminated a public subsidy for political parties that was based largely on how many votes they had received in the two previous elections. Last year, the Tories raised the maximum amount people can donate to parties every year to $5,000 from $3,000.

Critics said it would give rich people too much sway over provincial politics, while Pallister said he was trying to ensure political donations were voluntary, not taken through taxes.

The changes, contained in a law passed last year, also give parties more room to spend money on ads in the run-up to an election.

They were previously forbidden to spend more than $268,000 on ads outside of a campaign period in an election year. The law passed last year limits the cap to 90 days before a campaign begins.

Ad spending in the rest of an election year is unrestricted.

Published at Wed, 04 Apr 2018 14:56:56 -0400