Canadians not hurrying to become Grits, according to flatlining membership drive

Justin Trudeau made a stop on his campaign for the LiIberal Party leadership at the Killarney Glengarry Community Association hall in Calgary, Alberta, on January 27, 2013.

Credits: Mike Drew/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency


OTTAWA - The Justin Trudeau fan club has sold the Montreal MP as the saviour of a drowning party whose rock star-like status would float the Liberal brand to the top of the political heap.

Turns out Trudeau's popularity - inflamed by media-inspired polls showing he could give Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his party a serious challenge - has so far failed to generate new party memberships the hype would suggest.

New numbers show the Liberal leadership race has yet to incite Canadians to rush to become card-carrying members at $10 a pop or for free as a supporter.

Figures obtained by QMI Agency show 11,000 new members and supporters have signed up with the Liberal Party of Canada since Nov. 14 when the race started.

Membership at that time stood at 85,000 and as of Jan. 29 had reached 96,000.

And of the 11,000 new recruits, only 3,000 had come from any of the nine contenders criss-crossing the country drumming up interest.

The remaining 8,000 signed on with the party directly.

A party official said the numbers would jump March 3 - the deadline for leadership camps to send the party names of individuals they have culled and are mostly keeping to themselves.

The majority of those are expected to be in the supporter category.

And just because someone is registered with the party as a supporter doesn't automatically mean that person can vote. They have until March 14 to register to cast a ballot to pick a new leader April 14.

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