In need of target practice

In October, an Angus Reid Public Opinion poll showed the provincial New Democrats 25 percentage points ahead of the Liberals. But the party's balance sheet wasn't looking nearly as healthy - which means the opposition might be limping across the finish line in the 2013 election even if they win government. Public Eye has exclusively learned, in the first ten months of 2010, a number of the New Democrats' revenue streams looked like they weren't going to hit their year-end targets.

For example:

* provincial membership fees and donations totaled $50,142 - $74,858 less than the target;

* direct mail and online donations totaled $66,801 - $268,199 less than the target; and

* provincial party projects, which includes fundraising by MLAs, totaled $63,500 - $206,500 less than the target.

Those shortfalls were somewhat offset by business, trade union and special large gift donations which, as of October, totaled $288,984 - $163,984 more than expected by year's end. And $724,306 worth of estate gifts also helped.

Nevertheless, University of Victoria political science professor emeritus Norman Ruff stated, "The end of term report card would say more effort required" when it comes to the New Democrats' fundraising efforts.

But, more troublingly, "it may also denote a general malaise - not just among the general public but among former contributors to the party who are disillusioned with the party politics" - a problem that could made worse by the recent decent surrounding Carole James's leadership of the party.

Noting that 13 MLAs appear to be off-side with Ms. James, Prof. Ruff said the party's fundraising, "may, in fact, deteriorate even further until they resolve the leadership issue."

Nevertheless, the party maintained its financial situation will turn around by the end of December, with spokesperson Michael Roy stating, "The last two months of the year are the best fundraising months of the year."

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