The NDP is the only major federal party that has not submitted its 2020 financial statement to Elections Canada and now has an extension to do so before the end of the summer.
Federal parties must submit their financial statements for each fiscal year by June 30 of the following year. While it is not uncommon to ask for an extension of this deadline, the NDP has done so more than any other major party and, since 2015, has had extensions in every year but one.
The NDP now has until August 30 to submit its 2020 declaration, according to Elections Canada. The statements include an accounting of its planned and actual income and expenditure. Although the party says it is preparing the statement and will submit it, the NDP’s repeated requests for an extension are deviating from the norm.
The Conservative Party and the Green Party asked for extensions in 2019. The Bloc Québécois asked for one in 2018. The NDP had extensions in 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, according to Elections Canada.
The Liberals did not ask for an extension during this period.
Pauline Beange, a political science professor at the University of Toronto who studies party finance, said the consistent pattern of extensions requested by the NDP stands in stark contrast to the rare extensions sometimes required by other parties.
“As a potential voter, I would ask the question, if they can’t file their own party financial reports on time, what could they do with a national budget?” Dr Beange said. She added that this appears to be the result of mismanagement.
“I don’t see why the NDP would be unduly embarrassed when some of the very small parties like the Communist Party of Canada can table on time,” she said.
Of the 19 parties registered with Elections Canada, 12 submitted their financial statements for the previous year. This includes the Liberals, Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party, as well as smaller parties including the Marxist-Leninist Party and the Rhinoceros Party.
Among the parties that did not submit their financial statements for the previous year, five, including the NDP, have extensions. Another was exonerated because it was not registered until last September. One of them did not submit a statement.
“The NDP’s verified annual statement is still in preparation,” Jesse Calvert, the party’s deputy national director, said in a statement. “We will – and we always have – provided Elections Canada with our audited statement, as this is a requirement under the Canada Elections Act.
Anne McGrath, National Director of the NDP, attributed some of the delay to the party’s practice of fundraising for small amounts, which takes longer to assess.
“Most of our donors cost well under $ 100, and we do the work for the auditor ourselves, internally,” she said in an interview, adding that it boils down to “the ability to staff”.
Ms McGrath noted that the party filed its quarterly financial statements on time, including one in June, and that the NDP is in better financial shape than it was in the previous election. By the end of 2020, the party had paid off campaign debts incurred in 2015 and 2019 and had a major fundraiser this year.
She added that in 2019 the party spent just under $ 10.5 million on the entire campaign, but this year it will spend more than that on its advertising budget alone.
“We have a plane ready, we have two buses, we have our ad campaign ready to go,” said Ms. McGrath. “We will be very competitive from a financial point of view.
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