EDMONTON — The Official Opposition in Alberta fundraised double that of the reigning provincial party during the second quarter of 2021.
Elections Alberta released contribution reporting for April to June that shows the New Democratic Party (NDP) raising more than $1.5 million while the United Conservative Party (UCP) raised approximately $715,886.
The NDP continued their streak of raising more funds than the UCP. The party has out-fundraised the UCP since first quarter 2020. The opposition raised more than $5 million in 2020 while the UCP gathered around $3.7 million.
In 2019, the UCP raised more than the NDP every quarter, with an annual total of around $6.4 million while the NPD raised approximately $5.5 million.
“The reason why we look at (donations) is they give us a good indication of how broad based a party’s support is,” Melanee Thomas, political scientist and associate professor at the University of Calgary, told CTV News in an interview.
For Thomas, contributions of $250 and less are an important indicator of support as they can show everyday people making decisions to financially support a political party.
“That is a form of political participation. Usually when people think about political participation, they think it is only about voting,” she added. “(Donating) is important as it is literally somebody saying, I care enough about politics to put my money into it.”
According to Elections Canada reporting, the NDP have raised $1.3 million in donations from contributions of $250 and under. The UCP have raised more than $437,000.
“These numbers are shocking,” Thomas said. “This is unprecedented for Canadian politics.
“In our system the party in government has all the resources, they control the political agenda, they get to dominate the news,” the political scientist added. “For the Official Opposition to double the party in government if I were that party in government, I would be very concerned about these numbers.
“The party in opposition out-fundraises the government, this is weird,” Thomas said. “This does not happen.”
The United Conservative Party did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement, the NDP said they have raised more money in the second quarter than the UCP has in all of 2021.
“With each passing day, more Albertans are frustrated with Jason Kenney and his UCP government,” said Rachel Notley, leader of the official opposition.
“He ran on a promise of jobs and economic growth, and over halfway through his mandate, he has failed to deliver on any of those promises,” Notley added. “We’ll continue to bring forward a positive vision for Alberta’s future. One that diversifies our economy and creates good jobs for Albertans while recognizing the vital role of the public service and rejecting the race to the bottom.”
The NDP say they had 14,811 total donors, including 2,462 who were first time donors. The average donation amount was $42.43.
Premier Jason Kenney had the lowest approval rating among Canadian premiers, according to Angus Reid polling released in June. When Kenney took office in June 2019, his approval was 61 per cent. In June this year his approval rating was at 31 per cent.
The next provincial election is slated for between March and May of 2023.
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