National Newswatch

OTTAWA — The Liberals and the Conservatives are both boasting of record-breaking fundraising results this spring, with each party pointing to a different measure of success.

Newly released figures from Elections Canada show the Conservative Party of Canada raised just over $8.5 million in the second quarter of this year, which came from about 53,000 donors.

The party says that breaks the previous second-quarter record, which the Conservatives set in 2011.

The Liberals, meanwhile, say the $5 million they raised came from just over 41,500 contributors from April 1 to June 30, which the party calls its best-ever second quarter when it comes to the number of donors.

The NDP, meanwhile, was bested by the Greens when it comes to second-quarter fundraising totals.

The Greens raised nearly $1.44 million from about 14,600 donors and the NDP raised just over $1.43 million from about 14,900 contributors.

The numbers came as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tested out his campaign message Wednesday on a friendly crowd of Liberal candidates, gathered to prepare for the coming election.

The choice is clear, he told his team, as he characterized the coming battle as one between Conservative cuts and Liberal investments in improving the lives of middle-class Canadians.

He also compared Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, as well as former prime minister Stephen Harper, even as he claimed his campaign would not stoop to personal attacks.

"The middle-class can't afford another Doug Ford," he said, "and it's up to every single person in this room to make that case by sharing our positive, ambitious vision for the future."

A spokesman for the Conservative Party of Canada countered with a similar Ontario-themed argument — evidence, perhaps, that the vote-rich province will be a key battleground in the coming campaign clash.

"Ontarians, perhaps more than any other Canadians, are all too familiar with the damage Liberal governments do if they get re-elected," Cory Hann said in a statement. "We cannot allow Justin Trudeau to do to Canada what Kathleen Wynne did to Ontario."

Some 200 Liberal candidates — out of 230 nominated so far — are attending training sessions in Ottawa this week, where they are learning about everything from how to canvass voters to how to tell their personal stories.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, meanwhile, spent the day in Kenora, Ont., where Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Rudy Turtle will be running under the New Democrat banner, a blow to Trudeau's brand as a champion of Indigenous issues.

The Canadian Press

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