Opposition parties may soon lose millions thanks to Stephen Harper.
Stephen Harper will phase out the per-vote subsidies on which federal parties have relied since the end of the Jean Chrétien era. The Conservatives, who have built a tremendously successful fundraising machine, will be just fine; the other parties will be in deep trouble.
Federal Conservatives have raised more money since 2004 than their three federal political rivals combined.
Political parties need money to compete – not just during election campaigns, but between them. And if they were just relying on the money they raise from individuals, without the $2 they get per vote, the opposition parties wouldn’t be competing at all.
In the final quarter of 2010, the Conservatives raised $5.23-million from individual donors – well more than the Liberals ($2.19-million), New Democrats ($1.66-million) and Bloc Québécois ($348,000) combined.
Here’s what parties would have netted each year on the subsidy (based on the election vote totals):
CPC: 10.2 million
NDP: 7.9 million
LPC: 4.9 million
Bloc: 1.6 million
Green: 1.0 million
I don’t see why we’re going to do away with this,” Chretien said in Quebec City.
“And who will this benefit? It will benefit those who have the most money. Suppose the poor wanted to have a political party, they wouldn’t have the means to do it.”
Chretien’s government introduced the subsidies in the wake of corruption scandals, with an aim to reducing graft and donor influence.
He said slashing the allowance could give Canada a system that resembles the one in the United States, where parties must raise billions to fund a campaign.
I think being politically different than the United States is good since it gives more options to choose from in North America. At worse, the per vote subsidy is not bad – not good. Heck it just cost 27 million. If Harper and his intelligent team can cut the budget by 11 billion, I’m sure they can find more democratic ways to cut election spending.
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Parties Will Suffer
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