Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives raised more than $16.1-million through political donations in 2016, a record haul that far outstripped the governing Liberals as the parties prepare for next year’s election.

Kathleen Wynne and the long-governing Liberal Party’s once-powerful fundraising machine raised $6.5-million last year, the second-lowest since Ms. Wynne became Premier in 2013. The total included proceeds of $1,000-a-plate fundraisers, which have now been outlawed.

In contrast, Patrick Brown spent his first full year as leader attending hundreds of events both big and small to eliminate the Official Opposition’s $6.1-million debt and exceed the PCs’ overall $11-million fundraising goal, according to discussions with party officials and financial documents provided to The Globe and Mail. The war chest will be needed to finance everything from expensive television advertising to pins with Mr. Brown’s name on them as he takes to the road in the summer 2018 in a campaign to unseat Ms. Wynne’s government. However, the money they now have in the bank also allows the Tories to reach voters before they must comply with Ontario’s campaign spending limits, which restrict parties to $1-million in advertising during the six months before an election.

The money will allow the party to mount “a proper campaign,” according to Walied Soliman, a member of Mr. Brown’s inner circle.

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