Canadians donated more than $44M to Liberal, Conservative parties in 2021

By Sarah Ritchie

The Conservative Party of Canada raised the most money of any federal party in 2021, bringing in $26.4 million in donations during a tumultuous year that ended with an election loss and speculation about the end of Erin O’Toole’s leadership.

Audited financial statements filed with Elections Canada show that’s just shy of $6 million more than the party raised in 2020, and the number of people who gave money to the Tories — 95,000 — was up by about 5,000 year-over-year.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals brought in $18.1 million from 75,800 donors, about $3 million more than in 2020.

Both parties also took on large loans in 2021, with the Liberals borrowing $30 million from six lenders, and the Conservatives taking out a $29-million loan that was repaid in full early in 2022.

The Bloc Quebecois raised about half a million more in 2021, with 11,300 donors giving a total of $2 million.

The NDP and Green Party annual statements are not yet publicly available.

Audited financial statements encompass the year ending Dec. 31, 2021, and include the 36-day election campaign that was called by the governing Liberals in mid-August and ended on Sept. 20, 2021. Spending during an election year is typically higher than in other years.

The parties ramped up their advertising, with the Bloc shelling out $1.5 million, the Conservatives $8.8 million and the Liberals $15.41 million.

By comparison, both the Liberals and the Tories spent about $500,000 on advertising the year before.

Speculation began over the summer that Trudeau was planning to call a snap election, in a move many observers say was an attempt to win a majority.

While that didn’t happen, the Liberals held onto a minority government, and have since struck a deal with the NDP that will see them continue to govern until 2025. That means the parties won’t have to be election-ready for several years.

Not long after the votes were counted, speculation began about O’Toole’s future as leader of the official Opposition. He was ousted by caucus in February 2022.