Shocking numbers reveal Notley leaving party nearly bankrupt
Despite having secured significant financing in years prior, the NDP under Rachel Notley managed to blow it all and started the year off saddled with a debt of $624,000.

Keean Bexte

April 12, 2024

Recent financial disclosures to Elections Alberta have shown that former leader Rachel Notley is leaving the Alberta NDP in utter shambles, both in terms of membership and funding.

Despite having secured significant financing in years prior, the NDP under Rachel Notley managed to blow it all and started the year off saddled with a debt of $624,000. For the sake of comparison, the United Conservative Party is in the green by over $1 million.

This was a total reversal of the financial situation when the NDP was facing (and lost to) Jason Kenney in 2019.

And it’s not that the NDP hasn’t earned significant fundraising, either. They have. In 2023, the NDP managed to raise approximately $9 million compared to Smith’s record-breaking $10.5 million—both higher amounts than any year for the UCP under Kenney. They also nearly tied the UCP in 2022, with the NDP raising $7.6 million versus the UCP’s $7.8 million.

In other words, the NDP is doing relatively well in terms of fundraising, just not as well as the UCP under Smith.

It isn’t a fundraising problem: it’s a Notley spending problem

What’s actually more concerning about the NDP being in debt isn’t even that Danielle Smith is outperforming Notley in fundraising; it’s that the NDP started 2023 with $5.5 million saved and managed to blow through that along with $9 million from the year’s fundraising.

From this, it becomes clear that the biggest issue facing the NDP isn’t their ability to bring in cash; it’s that their leader spent every penny and then some in her last year in office, eviscerating the considerable financial gains they’d made in years prior and leaving the party in dire straits.

And what did she spend it on? A 30-second ad during the Oscars, for one—essentially just to look ‘quirky’ and ‘relatable’ because she swore on TV or something.

While it’s not clear what the exact cost of this ad was, Fortune estimates that the average 30-second ad played during the Oscars costs advertisers approximately $1.85 million. You can watch the ad below and decide for yourself if this ‘quirky’ ad was really worth the nearly 2 million dollars that the NDP didn’t have to spend.

The worst part about this massive spending bid is that it didn’t even have the desired effect. Because this wasn’t really an NDP ad, it was a ‘vote for me for Premier’ ad during the Alberta 2023 general election cycle. And it didn’t energize her base or swing voters. Notley lost the 2023 election to Smith, who didn’t take out ads during the Oscars, by a significant margin.

The state of the NDP today

Given the fact the NDP only raised $41,323 from membership fees compared to the UCP’s $306,056 last year, this really paints a bleak picture of the state of the NDP today: nearly bankrupt and barely hanging on to their dwindling base.

The NDP are on the back foot, and they need someone to drag them back into the spotlight from irrelevancy after Notley’s departure. And in this desperation, who better than a charismatic leader with name recognition to energize the base? Enter Calgary’s infamous former mayor, Naheed Nenshi.

Seemingly out of nowhere, just two months before the NDP were set to elect a leader, Nenshi announced his candidacy, painted his face orange, and catapulted himself into the top position for NDP voters.

And for socialist members of the Alberta NDP, they’ve only been too happy to accept the mayor who used to brand himself as a mix of Conservative and Liberal, with polls showing they view him as the only candidate who can keep the NDP competitive in the next general election.

But given his track record as mayor, is it worth the cost?

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