Monday, August 13, 2007

On fund-raising failures

It remains to be seen whether the much-speculated machinations against Stephane Dion's Lib leadership will amount to anything. But the Libs had best hope not, as all indications are that they're having enough trouble paying off the last leadership race without having to fund another one.

From the Hill Times, here's the Libs' explanation for their trailing the Cons' fund-raising totals:
Elizabeth Whiting, director of communications for the Liberal Party headquarters, told The Hill Times that one of the key reasons for the Liberal Party's low numbers in fundraising is that the former leadership contestants are also trying to raise funds at the same time. The Liberals raised $1.4-million in the second quarter of 2007.

"The second quarter results when you include leadership contestants for the Liberal Party of Canada totals $1.72-million. Elections Canada doesn't include the amount that's contributed to leadership contestants, which is about $257,000. When you include that in for the total amount including to candidates, to registered associations, to the party itself puts it at $1.72-million. That from about 11,000 contributors," said Ms. Whiting last week.
Leaving aside the wider fund-raising numbers, remember that the Libs' leadership candidates wound up with a total of roughly $4 million in debt. And with a total of 6 quarters in which to make up that amount, it seems fairly obvious that the Libs are far behind the pace they'd need to make up their leadership debts.

And it gets worse for the Lib leadership candidates, as it's far from clear that the contributions taken in actually paid down the Libs' leadership debts even to the small amount that the number involved would suggest. After all, the quarterly fund-raising figures to be a gross number which fails to take into account the negligible return on investment for events intended to help raise money for the leadership contenders.

All of which makes it clear that the Libs already have a remote prospect at best of paying back their existing leadership debts. And Libs otherwise inclined to challenge Dion's leadership status may want to think twice about whether the party can afford another leadership race even if it wants one.

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