Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Donations to the Conservative Party of Quebec in free fall

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After exploding in 2021 and 2022, popular funding for Éric Duhaime's Conservative Party of Quebec is back at the same level as in 2020. (Archive photo)

  • Alexandre Duval (View profile)Alexandre Duval

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The mobilizing effect of the pandemic seems to have run out of steam within the Conservative Party of Quebec (PCQ). In 2023, Éric Duhaime's political party only collected $56,825 in donations from its base, an amount that barely corresponds to a third of its leader's salary.

This result can hardly be compared to the $676,101 raised by the PCQ in 2022, because it was an election year, which allowed donors to contribute up to $200, double what is normally allowed.

However, in 2021, the PCQ had collected $300,877, that is to say almost six times more than last year. There is a fairly clear break, it is not a marginal fall, analyzes Éric Montigny, professor of political science at Laval University.

In his opinion, the PCQ may be suffering the effect of the demobilization of members who had first joined its ranks in reaction to health measures linked to COVID-19. The pandemic is far behind us, so there is a need for the party to remobilize a base on other issues. It may be more difficult.

We will have to see how the trend evolves over time, but there is still a worrying signal hidden behind these figures.

A quote from Éric Montigny, professor of political science at Laval University

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Éric Montigny, professor of political science at Laval University

The 2023 data, obtained using Élections Québec's donor research tool, demonstrate that the PCQ is back at the same level of popular funding as in 2020, the year when Éric Duhaime announced that he was going to run for the leadership.

Yet, in 2021 and 2022, the PCQ had reached a level of popular financing comparable to that of Québec solidaire (QS ) and the Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ).

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Even in the ridings of Beauce-Nord and Beauce-Sud, where the PCQ almost failed. winning against the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) during the last general elections, donations melted away.

In Saint-Georges, for example, the PCQ raised just $50 last year, compared to more than $5,000 in 2022 and more than $3,300 in 2021.

Éric Duhaime declined Radio-Canada's interview request. By email, however, his press secretary asserts that he is not at all worried.

On the contrary, if an election took place today , we could win up to 10 ridings […], including Beauce-Nord and Beauce-Sud. This is unheard of, says Cédric Lapointe, who says he trusts the statistical electoral projection model Qc125.

The pandemic will have allowed tens of thousands of Quebecers to take an interest in politics and even to join and donate to the Conservative Party of Quebec. I am proud of our democratic contribution to society.

A quote from Cédric Lapointe, press secretary to Éric Duhaime

If popular funding fell so much in 2023, it is because the PCQ has instead focused its efforts on the development of its political program, explains Mr. Lapointe. Members and donors were not called [last year].

Despite everything, the financial stability of the PCQ is not threatened in the medium term. After collecting approximately 13% of the votes in the last general election, the party now receives an annual allocation from Élections Québec comparable to those of the PLQ, QS and the Parti québécois (PQ).

In the year following the election, the PCQ received nearly $1.5 million thanks to this financing mechanism.

Professor Éric Montigny, however, sees this as a paradox for the PCQ. This places the political party at odds with its main ideology of state non-interventionism. It really becomes dependent on state funding.

Mr. Montigny also emphasizes that the PLQ is also in a particular financial position. In fact, Marc Tanguay's troops only collected $271,157 last year, slightly less than QS ($276,419) and much less than the PQ ($766,907) and the CAQ ($814,319). .

We must remember that not so long ago, it was the party that was capable of raising the most money. This is a radical change in the financial portrait of the Liberal Party, analyzes Mr. Montigny.

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