OTTAWA — The federal New Democrats ended last year by going deeper into the red.
The party's annual return posted to the Elections Canada website shows the party finished 2018 with about $4.7 million in assets and $9.2 million in total liabilities, meaning they ended the year with $4.5 million in negative net assets.
That makes the third year in the row the party has filed an annual financial return where total assets were less than overall liabilities.
The NDP ended 2017 with about $3.1 million in negative net assets.
It is also the worst balance sheet since 2001, which is the earliest year for which the reports are available online.
The Conservatives ended 2018 with $5.1 million in net assets and the Liberals had $1.7 million.
The return shows the NDP spent about $1.4 million more than it had coming in last year, an operating deficit that is about the same as it was in 2017.
The cash-strapped status of the NDP comes alongside questions about the party's ability to recruit candidates to run for office in the Oct. 21 election.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Friday in Quebec City that he expects to have candidates in 302 of 338 ridings in place within the week.
Melanie Richer, a spokeswoman for the NDP, said the balance sheet does not take the appraised value of the Jack Layton Building in downtown Ottawa, which the party owns and houses its headquarters.
The filing shows the building and the land it stands on had an appraised value of nearly $7.9 million as of March 2018.
"If Elections Canada operated like any accounting firm, that would be reflected in the net asset amount," Richer said in a statement.
Richer also noted donations were up last year, a trend she said continued into the first half of 2019.
The annual financial return shows the NDP received about $5.2 million from supporters in 2018, which is about $80,000 more than the year before.
"We've been consistently beating our projections since the beginning of the year," said Richer.
The NDP received about $2.66 million in contributions from Jan. 1 to June 30 this year.