Friday, January 14, 2011

Public Subsidy of Political Parties

The issue is back in the media and I am happy that it is.   I am completely and utterly disgusted that tax dollars are going to political parties in Ottawa.  The idea that $27,000,000 have gone to five national political parties is just wrong.   This is money that should be used for the benefit of the people of the nation, not unaccountable private organization that use the money to sell their propaganda to the public.

The subsidy is based on the number of votes a party gets in the previous election.   The only way a Canadian can stop some of the money from going to the parties is to not vote.   The subsidy means that your vote is not only a vote, but also an agreement that some of your tax dollars will go to a political party that you have no right to review what they do and have no direct influence over.

We need to end this subsidy now.   It is unethical to take public money and give it to private partisan organizations.  

There also has to be an end to tax deductions for political contributions.   This is another way the government subsidies the political parties.    There is no place for this either.  Political parties are not charities.   If you are a charity you are not allowed to engage in any political activities, you have to use your money for specific public good activities.    Political parties do not have to meet these restrictions and do not have to open their books to the public.

Very few Canadians are members of political parties, at most about 500,000 people.   Most of these people are in the top 20% of incomes in Canada.   The public subsidy and political tax credit are transfers of taxes dollars from the poorer 80% to the richer 20% of the nation.

If a candidate is running federally they can spend about $90,000 in the election.   If they have 2000 supporters that is only $45 per person average they need to achieve.   The problem is that political parties are no longer mass membership organizations and are looking for short cuts to deal with the fact they are not popular and very few people are willing to give them money.

If the goal of the money is for the parties to get their message out, this is no longer needed.  With the internet there is no shortage of sources of information for the public to make a decision.  There is also the media.   There are more than enough sources of information for the public that it gets no benefit from political parties spending the money.  

The goal of our political system is to benefit the broad public of the nation.   Public subsidy of political parties of any form does not serve the interests of the people of the nation.

If the Conservatives come out and say they will get rid of the subsidy, I will not only vote for them, I will very actively campaign for them.
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