Opinion: Jagmeet Singh and the NDP have a disastrous spending problem on their hands

Chris Campbell

When voters go to the polls next month for the Canadian federal election, should a political party’s management of their own finances be a consideration?

It’s an interesting question to ponder with news that, according to the Canadian Press, the federal New Democrats ended last year by “going deeper into the red.”

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According to the party's annual return posted to the Elections Canada website, the NDP finished 2018 with nearly $4.5 million in negative net assets.

“That makes the third year in the row the party has filed an annual financial return showing a balance sheet where total assets were less than overall liabilities,” says the story. “It is also the worst balance sheet since 2001, which is the earliest year for which the reports are available online. The return also shows the NDP spent about $1.4 million more than it had coming in last year.”

A major criticism I see voters express in reaction to NDP campaign announcements – such as the party’s laudable plan to build 500,000 affordable homes – is how the party would pay for such costly promises.

Voters could look at the party’s books and see that it can’t spend within its means and rightly wonder how it would function running the country.

I mean, seeing the words “worst balance sheet” is alarming. The situation is likely to get worse for 2019 because spending during an election year – which includes the party having to fork over for getting Singh elected in Burnaby South in February – should be much higher than in 2018.

The NDP raised about $5.2 million in 2018, compared to $5.1 million the year before.

However, in August it was revealed that the NDP came in a dismal fourth in fundraising in the last quarter, even behind the federal Green party.

If Singh and the NDP don’t see a breakthrough in this election, the party will be in even deeper financial trouble because it will be tough to raise money based on a bad election result.

  • With files from the Canadian Press

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