Alberta's UCP raised at least $1.4M more in revenue than NDP in 2023

The UCP drew in $10.4 million in revenue compared to $9 million for the NDP, a difference of $1.4 million, but one that doesn’t yet account for money from UCP riding associations

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Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party (UCP) outpaced the Opposition Alberta New Democrats (NDP) in raising revenue by at least $1.4 million over the course of 2023, according to annual reporting figures  published by Elections Alberta.

Those numbers show a modest difference in the amount the two parties received in contributions throughout the calendar year: the UCP with $6.56 million and the NDP with $5.92 million.

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But, the UCP took in $235,000 more via fund-raising functions and $265,000 more in membership sales.

The biggest difference was in what the Elections Alberta reports list as ‘other income’ where the UCP generated close to $1 million compared to just $72,000 from the NDP.

That category includes fees for annual general meetings and contesting nominations.

Including last May’s election campaign, the UCP drew in $10.4 million in revenue compared to $9 million for the NDP, a difference of $1.4 million and the second straight year the governing party has out-raised the opposition.

UCP president Rob Smith said he was “gobsmacked” to see what he characterized as a $4-million swing in the two party’s relative positions from a year earlier.

He also cited an “unexpectedly high level of fundraising” in the past 12 months, a bump he attributes to Premier Danielle Smith.

“People have the opportunity to see her and hear her understand that she’s fighting for Alberta and fighting for Albertans,” he said.

“You can’t incite people to be passionate about politics if they’re not passionate about the leader.”

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Those revenue figures don’t yet include numbers that have been reported but not yet published by the UCP riding associations, with Rob Smith saying he expects the difference between the two parties to grow significantly once those figures are reported.

“We think that actually it might even be double what our provincial dollar value is or perhaps even more,” he said.

The party ended the year with a $287,000 surplus and net assets of just over $1 million.

It’s a different story for the NDP whose bottom line has gone from a $5.5 million surplus in 2022 to a deficit of $623,000 dollars at the end of 2023.

Party executive director Garett Spelliscy said those numbers were a product of the party’s efforts to overcome what he characterized as unfair UCP incumbency advantages.

“We were swinging for the fences in the election,” he said, noting the party’s bills from the campaign have already been paid off.

“It’s harder for opposition parties in Alberta. To campaign, it requires more money.”

He said the party’s ongoing leadership race presents an opportunity to grow the party but may also result in donations being diverted to individual leadership candidates instead of to the party itself.

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“People are getting the message that the party needs to be strong at the end of the leadership race from a financial point of view, because we need to go head to head with this government early.”

He said the party is satisfied with early fundraising this year and will be will set up for the months to follow.

“We’re pretty happy with the way the first quarter went in terms of people continuing to keep their commitment with the party,” he said.

“That will make sure that we’re in a good position at the end of the leadership race.”

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