Friday, May 27, 2011

Thankfully the per vote subsidy is going

Use of any public money to support political parties is about as undemocratic as you can get in our federal system other than the Senate.    It is unethical to take money collected to benefit the public good and give it to private partisan organizations seeking to gain political advantage.   It also wrong because political parties should be a reflection of active support of Canadians and not be a publicly funded status quo.   If political parties can not get the public to give them money, then they need to rethink what they are doing and why they exist.

Based on the 2011 election, if we continued with the per vote subsidy to the political parties the government would be providing about $30,000,000 a year to the parties.   I know many people will say this is not a lot of money but it is enough to do a significant infrastructure project like an interchange.   Frankly I would be happy to take a year of the money and I am sure I can offer a lot more benefit to all Canadians than how it is used now.

Over the life of a parliament this would be about $125,000,000.   I am not sure how quickly the funding will be eliminated, but it is being phased over a couple of years.

Now we also need to see an end of the reimbursement of election expenses.   After the 2008 election the parties were given back $55,500,000, 89% of that to the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives.   I assume that for this latest election the amount will be roughly the same.   There is no way I can see how anyone can say that reimbursing election expenses of the major party candidates benefits Canadians.   There are many better uses of this money than paying for the private partisan activities of political parties.

Public funding has caused the political parties to spend more money on campaigning outside of the election while at the same time not bothering to build a strong grassroots party.   Killed the subsidies will improve the tenor of Canadian politics and make all the parties healthier.

1 comment:

Sixth Estate said...

I doubt you'll see the extra cuts; this government only seems interested in eliminating the subsidy its opponents are disproportionately dependent on. There's also the oversized donation tax credit, which I understand they're keeping too.

A lot of people are welcoming this cut, but realistically, only two of the three major subsidies to political parties requires them to compete for public support, and only one of those limits the amount of taxpayers' money a single supporter can direct to a party to just a couple bucks a year. And that's the one they're cutting.

So while eliminating "party welfare" sounds like a swell idea, that's really not the agenda here. If it was they'd be going after the other subsidies. They're not.