Well-funded Conservatives paid $8.5M on advertising in 2023, trouncing other parties

Well-funded Conservatives paid $8.5M on advertising in 2023, trouncing other parties
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre points to a campaign sign during a news conference in Vancouver on October 13, 2023.

The well-funded Conservative Party of Canada spent more than $8.5 million on advertising last year, substantially exceeding what its political rivals dropped to get their message out.

The Liberals spent just a fraction of that at around $381,000, while the NDP spent only about $42,000.

The numbers are detailed in federal parties’ annual financial returns for 2023, which Elections Canada posted online this week.

Since last summer, the Conservatives have held a strong lead over the Liberals in national opinion polls. Despite that, it’s not likely the Liberal party will match what Tories are spending on ads anytime soon.

The Liberals launched advertising campaigns in the lead-up to and during the 2015, 2019 and 2021 elections.

They were “an important part of how the Liberal Party of Canada successfully connected with more Canadians than ever before about Justin Trudeau’s positive plan to invest in the middle class,” said Parker Lund, a party spokesperson.

“And the same will be the case for the next election, whenever it may arise.”

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The Conservatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Broken down, the Tories spent about $5.8 million on television ads, $668,212 on radio ads and over $2 million on “other” ads.

The Conservative party remains prosperous, with the statement showing it held $16 million in cash at the end of 2023, an increase of more than $3.2 million from the start of the year.

The Liberals were sitting on nearly $2.8 million in cash by the end of December, a decrease of about $530,000 from what they started with in January.

The NDP did not report any cash holdings for 2023 as it was still paying off a loan from the 2021 election campaign, but the party said it is now in the black.

Filings show that parties are spending some of those dollars on fundraising activities, polling and research.

The Conservative party spent more than $8.3 million on fundraising activities in 2023, while the Liberals spent nearly $3 million for the same thing — a point they’re particularly proud of.

“Filings with Elections Canada continue to highlight that Liberal supporters are getting far more value for their donations than Conservatives,” said Lund.

But there was a significantly better return for the Tories.

The annual filings show they were able to raise over $35 million last year, while Liberals fundraised $15 million.

The NDP took in nearly $7 million from donors, saying it was their best non-election fundraising year since NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh became leader, putting them in their best financial position since 2015.

“That successful year led to the party paying off the 2021 election debt early in 2024 and to our best first-quarter digital fundraising since before Jagmeet became leader, including election years,” said Lucy Watson, the NDP’s national director, in a statement.

As for polling and research last year, the Tories spent more than $1 million, while the Liberal party spent about $60,000.

SEE PREVIOUS: As fall elections loom, are fears for the state of democracy in Canada justified?

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 4, 2024.

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