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The People’s Party of Canada recently filed its 2018-2019 audited financial report with Elections Canada, in accordance with regulations. That report covers the 15-month period between October 2018 and December 31, 2019.
Here, we would like to highlight the main items in this report so that you aware of the Party’s financial situation as a member, dedicated volunteer, supporter, or as a donor or potential donor. You can read the full report here.
Although the People’s Party was incorporated in October 2018 with Industry Canada under the Canada not-for-profit Corporations Act – a necessary first step to secure the name of the party – it was not officially registered as a party by Elections Canada until January 16, 2019. Until that date, it did not raise any revenues.
Revenues raised for the Party between August 23, 2018, when Maxime Bernier resigned from the Conservative Party of Canada and announced that he planned to launch a new party, and January 16, 2019, were collected in a newly created bank account for the Official Agent of Maxime Bernier, Independent Candidate. This served as a temporary account for the Party until it was registered in January 2019 and was able to issue tax receipts and receive donations. The money remaining in the Official Agent account was thereafter transferred to the Party’s bank account.
Canada’s electoral law offers no guidelines as to how to set up a party, and no regulations apply to the entity that serves as a temporary organization until the party is officially registered by Elections Canada. That entity – the Official Agent of Maxime Bernier, Independent Candidate – was also not required to file any financial report to Elections Canada. Mr. Bernier nonetheless decided that the entity would follow all Elections Canada’s financial regulations for established parties, including limits to donations. And in the interest of transparency for our members and supporters, we also produced a standard financial report, which is available here.
Here are the main highlights in the financial reports of both the Official Agent of Maxime Bernier, Independent Candidate (hereafter the Official Agent), and the People’s Party of Canada (the Party).
Between August 2018 and January 2019, the Official Agent raised $663,644 in donations and membership fees, while in 2019, the Party raised $2,011,244 from these sources, for a total of $2,674,888. After expenses incurred in 2018, the Official Agent’s remaining surplus of $331,265 was transferred to the Party in 2019.
Salaries and professional fees
The Official Agent did not pay for any permanent employees during its five months of operations. It paid $100,890 in professional fees to contract workers and service providers. In 2019, the Party paid $525,415 in salaries and benefits. For most of that year the Party’s staff was comprised of ten part-time and full-time employees. The Party also paid $69,970 in professional fees.
The staff was reduced to four full-time employees at the end of 2019, after the October 2019 elections. Two more were hired in August 2020 in preparation for a possible snap election in the coming months.
The leader, Maxime Bernier, did not receive any salary or compensation from the Party in 2018 and 2019, as he was receiving a salary as a Member of Parliament. Mr. Bernier only started receiving a salary at the beginning of this year. His salary will be $104,000 in 2020.
Salaries were temporarily reduced by 20% after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 as a precautionary measure to save money during uncertain times.
The Party spent $153,946 in legal fees in 2019 to defend itself in various lawsuits launched against it, including one by a man who claimed ownership of the Party’s registered name. We either won these lawsuits or they were abandoned. The costs of the current defamation lawsuit against Warren Kinsella are not paid by the Party but by Mr. Bernier himself.
During 2018 and 2019, the Official Agent and the Party spent in total the following amounts on:
- Advertising for radio and television = $289,246
- Advertising for social media = $152,829
- Supporter rallies = $219,975
- August 2019 National Convention = $63,258
- Travel by Mr. Bernier and staff members = $166,996
- Office supply = $62,254
- Database = $51,837
- Telecommunications = $5,329
- Interest and bank charges = $75,045
- Rent = $30,861
Note that following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to reduce costs during these uncertain times, the Party closed its Gatineau office in June 2020. All staff have been working remotely since then. The Party will likely reopen an office when the need arises before the next election.
The Party manages its finances in a responsible manner and did not borrow any money to run its election campaign in the fall of 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we finished the year 2019 with $461,752 in cash and cash equivalents, $250,000 of which is held in term deposits. This will serve as a cushion in case a snap election is called in the coming months.
Running a party necessitates the work of thousands of volunteers, but also involves unavoidable costs. We are proud of what has been accomplished by the People’s Party of Canada so far and we thank the generous donors who made it possible. If you want to help the Party be better financially prepared to sell its bold Canada First platform and fight for Freedom, Responsibility, Fairness and Respect in the next election, please donate here.
The PPC Team
August 21, 2020
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