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Provincial Tories accumulate biggest war chest

<p>The provincial Tories have built up the biggest war chest to spendin a spring election, while the NDP will have to play catchup.</p>

The provincial Tories have built up the biggest war chest to spend in a spring election, while the NDP will have to play catchup.

The PC Party has about $450,000 set aside for an election. That's close to double the approximately $250,000 of the NDP, while the Liberals are somewhere in the middle.

"Potentially, yes," said NDP provincial secretary Ed Wark on whether his party will be outspent by the Conservatives.

"But if we see the Tories launching an attack like they tried on the weekend, then it only hurts their credibility," he said of the recent Risky NDP campaign.

While a spring election is not certain, all parties have openly been gearing up for a campaign. Over the weekend, Premier Rodney MacDonald celebrated his party being in the best financial shape in his memory.

That could be a key edge in what is expected to be a tight race between the government and opposition NDP, but the third-place Liberals also can't be counted out.

While both the NDP and Liberals haven't completed their year-end audits, Liberal Party president Derek Wells said his party will be able to spend toe-to-toe with anyone.

Right now, the Liberals have more than $300,000 in the bank but that will likely jump significantly after a $300-per-plate fundraiser featuring Justin Trudeau in April. Events of that sort can raise as much as $100,000 for a party, said Wells.

"I don't expect that we'll be outspent by the other parties in the next election. Of course, we're depending somewhat on the generosity of our supporters come election time," said Wells.

"All three parties have to go out there during election time and raise money from their supporters."

Parties also have credit lines they can draw from for extra money on the campaign trail. In the 2006 election both the Tories and NDP spent just over $1 million while the Liberals spent about $650,000.

 
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