Canada’s two main federal political parties took in less money from individual donations during the second quarter of this year compared with the same time in 2018 — the last non-election year — as the financial slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

According to financial returns released by Elections Canada this week, the Liberals and Conservatives together raised more than $6.2 million in donations between April and June of this year, which is almost $3 million less than they raised during the same period in 2018.

Donations are always highest during election years, so comparisons with 2019 would not be relevant.

The drop in donations coincides with the period when the economy came to a virtual standstill as Canadians stayed home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The Conservatives led the pack by pulling in donations from individuals totalling more than $3.5 million in the second quarter of 2018. The party also received about $436,000 in transfers from candidates in its ongoing leadership campaign, for a total of just over $4 million. The party raised more than $6 million from both donations and transfers during the same period in 2018.

The Liberals pulled in $2.6 million in individual donations this year, compared with just under $3.1 million in 2018.

The three smaller parties, meanwhile, saw their donation totals increase compared with 2018.

The New Democratic Party received $1.3 million this year compared with just $872,000 two years ago, while the Bloc Québécois received $131,000 in donations, up from a meagre $42,000 two years ago.

The Green Party took in more than $633,000 from individuals and more than $87,000 from its leadership candidates for a total of slightly more than $721,000, up from $572,000 two years ago.

The $8.2 million raised by all parties from individual donations between April and June is a slight decrease from the approximately $8.4 million they raised during the first quarter between January and March. A CBC News analysis found that March 2020  — when the novel coronavirus began to shut down businesses and schools in Canada — appears to have been the worst March for fundraising in Canada since March 2006.

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