While the leadership candidate entry fee is $90,000, a candidate can get a rebate of $25,000 for each 1,000 individuals he or she signs up to the Liberal Victory Fund. The fund requires a minimum $10 monthly contribution, half to the party and half to a riding association.
The seemingly high entrance fee is offset when a candidate demonstrates the capacity fo motivate supporters. If you can sign up 2000 VF contributors, then the fee is actually less than the last leadership race. That's a steep goal, but one that potentially counters the sting of the entrance fee. Looking at it another way, a candidate only needs to average 7 VF signups per riding to get 50 grand back. All in all, a pretty fair proposition, if one is thinking of the party, as well as the leadership race.
The really encouraging part, Liberals could actually emerge from the convention with a pretty robust base level of fundraising supporters, should the candidates make these goals a priority. I suspect this new setup will apply some "peer pressure", in the sense that the frontrunners, while long on funds, will still make the VF signup a priority, lest they risk looking like frauds on the renewal rhetoric. The ability to sign up VF supporters could actually turn into a litmus test for the leadership candidates, a statement on their ability to inspire and engage Liberals, as well as bring new people into the process. A very clever idea when you think about it.
I also like the 10% tax on all donations, going directly to the party. While a timid percentage, it sends another clear signal that this leadership race mustn't hobble the party's ability to fundraise.
I have some quibbles with the overall announcement, but on the fundraising side, it would appear the party has it just about right, setting a nice tone that choosing a new captain is the least of our problems.