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Tories' fundraising edge widening

Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister

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Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister (MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES)

Manitoba's Progressive Conservatives continue to raise more money than their political foes -- and the gap is widening.

Newly released figures show the Tories received $1.5 million in donations in 2013, compared with $949,700 for the NDP and $132,290 for the Liberals.

It marked the sixth consecutive year the Conservatives have raised more funds than the New Democrats. The last time the NDP took in more cash than the PCs was in 2007, an election year, when it received $1.3 million compared with $950,000 for the Tories.

All registered political parties had until March 31 to submit their financial statements for 2013 to Elections Manitoba. The statements and donation information is now posted on the agency's website.

The governing NDP saw its donations drop slightly in 2013 compared with the previous year, when it took in $963,236. But the Opposition Tories saw their take rise by $340,000 over 2012.

PC house leader Kelvin Goertzen said the Tories' more than half-million-dollar fundraising edge last year is reflective of the fact "people are looking for a change."

He said voters are upset they were lied to about the PST hike, and they're not impressed with a new taxpayer subsidy that helps political parties cover some of their administrative costs. The Conservatives are the only registered political party to refuse the subsidy, which they have termed a "vote tax."

"Sometimes people react by talking in the coffee shops, sometimes they react by talking at the kitchen table, and sometimes they react by writing out cheques," Goertzen said in explaining his party's success with donors.

An official with the NDP said the party's fundraising has been steady the past five years.

"I don't spend a lot of time being concerned at the amount of money (the Tories) are raising," provincial secretary Nanci Morrison said.

"My job is to make sure we have enough money to run the next election, and we're going to have that," she said, noting the NDP created its election planning committee last week.

Meanwhile, the Manitoba Liberals continue to lag well behind the two main parties in fundraising.

Jeff Kovalik-Plouffe, the provincial Liberals' executive director, said with a new leader and a recent boost in the popularity polls, the Grits expect to collect more cash this year.

"Every year we want to go up. That's the goal," Kovalik-Plouffe said, without revealing the party's 2014 donation target.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

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Updated on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 8:26 AM CDT:
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Updated on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 9:17 AM CDT:
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