The NDP says it’s ready for a fall election campaign if needed, saying it’s in better or equivalent financial shape compared to the 2019 vote.
The party’s national director, Anne McGrath, dismissed critics who assumed the NDP would not bring down the minority Liberal government because New Democrats could not afford a costly election.
“We fought the election with less…and done well,” McGrath said.
In an interview with CBC News, McGrath made no secret of his party’s money troubles. But she rejected speculation that the NDP would not be able to run an effective election campaign.
If necessary, McGrath said, the party would finance a sudden election campaign with a mixture of its own money and borrowings. Parties with the biggest war chest do not necessarily win campaigns, she added.
“Money is a coin, and it’s an important coin – but it’s not the only coin.”
This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, through the Governor General, prorogued Parliament. When Parliament returns, the Liberals will likely trigger a series of confidence votes. The party will initiate a Speech from the Throne, which will outline the government’s mandate and a possible budget. Both need the support of at least one of the main opposition parties. If the Liberals fail to secure another party’s support for their spending plans, Canadians could see an election in the coming months.
McGrath’s comments on the NDP’s willingness to fight a fall election went further than what party leader Jagmeet Singh said on the issue this week.
“If the Liberals keep helping themselves or keep fighting instead of helping people… Then we’ll look at all options,” Singh said in Vancouver on Tuesday.
The decision to support the Liberals is not based on the NDP’s financial statements but “in principle,” McGrath said, adding that his party will continue to push the Trudeau government to provide support for the unemployed, the disabled, the paid sick leave and investments. in affordable child care.
2019 Campaign Debt Elimination
McGrath said the NDP has made progress paying off its $10 million campaign debt since the last election; the party still owes about $1.5 million. The party has set a goal to eliminate that debt by the end of this year, before the pandemic hits.
“I’m pretty happy with how the fundraising is going and hopefully we can pay off the debt,” McGrath said.
The NDP has seen a bump in fundraising over the past quarter; New Democrats raised $1.3 million, up from $963,923 in the previous quarter. However, the NDP is far behind the other major parties when it comes to fundraising.
Through June 30, here’s what each party has raised this year:
- Conservatives: $7.3 million.
- Liberals: $5.5 million.
- NDP: $2.3 million.
- Greens: $1.2 million.
Maxime Bernier’s Parti Populaire, which garnered less than 2% of the vote in the 2019 election and failed to win a seat, ended the year with just under $400,000 in net assets. By comparison, at the end of 2018 — the NDP’s 2019 report is not yet available — New Democrats had negative net assets of $4.5 million.
The selection of candidates will begin soon
McGrath said the NDP would soon focus on attracting a diverse slate of candidates in key ridings who would be ready to run in the next election, whenever called. She said the party’s federal council will meet virtually in September to finalize the nominating rules.
Although McGrath thinks the NDP is ready, the NDP Socialist Caucus, an unofficial group within the party, is not confident.
Caucus chair Barry Weisleder fears for his party’s prospects in the fall election. Weisleder, a staunch NDP reform advocate, said the party ignored its base when it canceled a national convention scheduled for 2020 before the pandemic hit. The NDP postponed the convention because rallies tend to be expensive.
Weisleder said the socialist caucus still wants to see a virtual convention. Postponing any of them deprives the party of an opportunity to conduct a critical autopsy of the 2019 election and a review of Singh’s leadership.
“I fear that despite all the scandals surrounding Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Party may be able to secure a majority mandate,” Weisleder said. “And the NDP’s vote and representation in parliament will be further reduced.”