The People’s Party of Canada (PPC) will head into the next election with half a million more dollars in its coffers because of how Canada funds political parties, according to the National Post.
Elections Canada refunds up to 60% of local riding associations’ expenses if their candidates receive at least 10% of the votes in an election. This money includes what is spent on signs, literature and offices.
In 2019, the PPC cleared the 10% threshold in only a single riding. In 2021, they were able to do so in 26 electoral districts.
A portion of this refund is issued soon after the final votes are tallied, but the rest comes after audits by Elections Canada to determine how many of the expenses qualify.
Elections Canada also offers 50% refunds on national campaign expenses for parties that receive at least 2% of votes nationwide. The PPC did not clear the 2% threshold in 2019, but they can now claim this refund because they garnered 5% of the vote in 2021.
PPC spokesperson Martin Masse said in an email to True North on Tuesday that the party spent about $1.3 million on the national campaign, and they look forward to receiving a refund for half of this amount.
“We are happy to be able to benefit from this program like the other parties,” said Masse. “Until now, all our expenses were covered by donations only.”
Masse said the PPC plans on setting aside most of this money as a “war chest” for the next election. They have hired a national coordinator for riding associations as well as an information officer.
The party ran on a platform opposing lockdown measures, mandatory vaccines and vaccine passports in the last election.
Some political parties require riding associations to give a portion or all of its refunds back to the national party, but Masse told True North that local PPC riding associations will be able to keep the refunds Elections Canada sends them.
Masse vowed that the PPC will be more prepared for the next election.
“We have started a process to approve candidates who want to run again in the next election as soon as the new year, way in advance of the next election,” he said. “They are experienced, will be able to start organizing already, will have a team in place and will be better known in their communities when the next election campaign starts.”
National campaign expense refunds from 2015 – the last year in which these figures have been made public – show that Canada’s three largest parties received huge amounts. The Liberals received about $22 million, the Conservatives claimed close to $21 million, and the New Democrats garnered almost $15 million. All three parties will continue to rake in sizable refunds for 2021.
One party that lost a significant amount of support in the last election was the Greens. Their campaign was hurt by party infighting when members of the executive council tried to remove former Green Party leader Annamie Paul.
Paul ended up resigning in November.