Conservatives lose money, but gain politically, without per-vote subsidies


The political purse strings have officially been tightened.

According to figures released by Elections Canada on Wednesday, federal political parties were $1.86 million poorer in the second quarter of 2012 (April to June) than they were in the first quarter.

The elimination of public subsidies for federal political parties was a key plank in the Conservative party’s 2011 election platform. While the government plans to eventually get rid of the subsidies entirely, a 25 per cent reduction was introduced on April 1, 2012.

Eliminating the full subsidy is expected to save $27 million a year, and Stephen Harper says it will change the culture in Ottawa away from “constant campaigning.” The Conservatives are the most successful private fundraisers in the House of Commons, and while they will lose the most money from the subsidies removal, they have the most to gain politically.

The taxpayer funded per-vote subsidies were introduced by the Martin government in 2004, shortly after corporate and union donations were banned. Opposition members largely support the subsidy. In 2011, the late Jack Layton told the Globe and Mail that its removal will put political power back in the hands of the rich, and that the “mixed approach of public and private money” is ultimately better for democracy.

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Conservatives lose money, but gain politically, without per-vote subsidies

  1. As long as Cons, I’m looking at you Del Asstro, keep raking in the money illegally it doesn’t matter how much they loose in compensation, they’re already getting more than the other parties.

    • Turn into John Wayne on the net sure Dean is shaking in his boots

  2. Bit late to the game aren’t we Macleans? I remember being regularly dumped on by con apologists for pointing out the advantage this would confer on the CPC despite losing the most money. Macleans maintained a stony silence. What our disingenuous PM means here of course is that unless opposition parties close the funding gap only he will be able to Campaign constantly. Thanks for pointing that out mr Whyte.. Er Macleans. We can always count on you to point out our PM’s partisan were wolf side.

    • I apologize for myself and everyone else who refuse to submit to your genius (apparently this ingenuity does not extend to spelling or grammar, surprisingly.) If only we could elevate you to your rightful post as supreme dictator and the purveyor of all that is right and wise.

  3. Stephen Harper says it will change the culture in Ottawa away from “constant campaigning.
    The Helmet-Headed Boy might need reminding that he appears to be the only one ‘constantly campaigning’ , ad nauseam.

    • Harper is constantly campaigning with $100M/yr in taxpayer money: what he spends on those self-promoting “Economic Action Plan” ads.

      Of course, he’s a complete hypocrite considering the slanderous attack-ad campaigns he engaged in against Dion, Ignatieff, Bob Rae and Mulcair outside of election campaigns: the very definition of “constant campaigning.”

  4. You know, lefties, all you have to do if you want to level the playing field is donate more money to your favourite party. Conservative supporters, so far as I know, aren’t generally wealthier than, say, Liberal supporters. So perhaps, just perhaps, it comes down to expecting political victories to be handed to you rather than having to make sacrifices for them…… gee, I wonder why that attitude might be more prevalent on the Left.

    • You mean like Deltro did? That is.. illegally?

      • Donations to political parties can only be illegal? Who knew? Any other wild generalizations you care to throw out there?

        • Try keeping up the current events.

          • The current event is a hyperactive bunch of leftists (like you) in the media attempting to fabricate a scandal and discredit a conservative who has done nothing wrong.

    • The moral of the story: if you want democracy, you have to buy it.

      • Yes, because having public money given out by the government to itself, in direct proportion to how currently powerful and influential their party is, to use for propaganda purposes to maintain that power…

        That is the definition of democracy.

        • Twonies directly linked in the main to the voter’s preferred party. You don’t appear to have a problem with monies donated by voters being
          used for propaganda purposes. Not to mention an outrageously generous tax credit.

          • I could do without the tax credit, and I hope another government will take that away also. I also don’t mind campaign contribution limits and the banning of
            campaign contributions from corporations, unions and other

            But yes, I don’t have a problem with voters organising and contributing money to broadcasting political messages (propaganda). That is pretty much how democracy and elections are supposed to work. Using the taxpayers own money to convince taxpayers to keep electing their overlords however, is completely undemocratic.

          • I Think you’re allowing ideaology to override your common sense. If we were to eliminate tax payer support from the electoral system we would stand alone as the only major western democracy to do so. Even the US picks up the entire tab of the electoral process. I doubt very much the public would support any referendum to Outsource or privatize our democracy.

          • You don’t seem to understand what “democracy” really means.

            Hint: It’s not “He who has the most money wins.”

        • So we could save some public money, skip the voting, and just auction seats to the party that gets the most donations?

      • Correct. If you want anything worthwhile in life, you have to give up your time or labour, or even your life, to gain and preserve it.

        But this point is pretty much where the Left and the Right diverge. Whether it’s peace and freedom, wealth, jobs, or education, the Right tends to hold that they are gained by paying a cost in lives, work, and money, while the Left tends to hold that they magically fall out of the sky for free. And the better the thing is, the more freely available it should be. And by “freely available” the Left means “paid for by someone else”.

        So this problem faced by every party except the Conservatives is not a coincidence. It is what these parties stand for.

        • So, you object to the 75% tax rebate as well? Canadian taxpayers currently account for the substantial majority of the funds the CPC receives.

          The problem with money in politics is that it annihilates genuine debate. Money is for carpet bombing. Money transforms politics into a marketing exercise and not a debate. I would be happy if the spending limits were cut by 75% and the leaders didn’t spend the campaign safely on a jet, away from the people, speaking to them through 30 second ads. Advertising for the 9 months before the writ drops should come of the campaign spending limit, too. There should be no surprises with fixed election dates.

          • “So, you object to the 75% tax rebate as well?”

            Correct. Let people donate from their own pockets, not mine. Donating from my pocket without my consent is called burglary, or perhaps NDPnparty policy. Either way, it’s something to be disdained.

            I also would have no problem with cutting the spending limit. The idea is to have money come from lots of little people, not a few big people. However, there is real merit in having that money be voluntary rather than forced, since (a) it’s more in keeping with a free country, and (b) it helps to kill poor parties whole bolstering those actually worthy of support.

            In term of (b), it goes without saying that Left-leaning parties will die, since their supporters couldn’t be bothered to make personal sacrifices for what they view as the common good. And this, ironically enough, furthers the common good.

          • You’re being needlessly antagonistic with that last comment. If you think eliminating public subsidies would turn Canada into a one-party state, you’re dreaming.

            Let’s be real about who funds the CPC. It is the Jesus-freaks and AM radio listeners. I don’t think they should be the people who control our politics. This is a democracy.

          • I never said eliminating public subsidies would turn Canada into a one-party state. I said that if they’re left to rely on their supporters making personal sacrifices for the common good, left-leaning parties will die out. What logically follows is that they’ll be replaced by other parties with more of the common good at their core, not that Canada will be left with a single party.

            I’m sure you’re right though: the party with the largest donations and a majority in the House of Commons is entirely supported by “Jesus-freaks” and “AM radio listeners” (?).

            ” I don’t think they should be the people who control our politics. This is a democracy.”

            The CPC controls our politics precisely because this is a democracy. There was a vote and everything. You see, this is where we’re hitting a disconnect: it doesn’t particularly matter what you want, or how badly you’ve deluded yourself into thinking your political opponents are “Jesus-freaks” and “AM radio listeners”. What matters is who wins the vote, and you accomplish that with work and sacrifice, not whining. Which is why the Left’s political future is looking dim. Which is why Canada’s political future is looking bright.

          • Donors to political parties are highly ideological. Hence the fundamentalist Christians and AM radio talk show types who are swayed by the fundraising emails to give $100.

            I don’t know why you think a system supported by individual donations will be any more wholesome and pure. It’s just as ugly if not uglier than the per vote subsidy.

          • If by “ideological” you mean “dedicated to an idea beyond their own selfish interests” then I agree with you, and the point still stands.

            As to why this would be more wholesome, I described my reasons above but I’ll repeat them here: (a) it’s more in keeping with a free country, and (b) it helps to kill poor parties whole bolstering those actually worthy of support. Reason (a) is obvious. Reason (b) relies on the premise that parties supported by those who care about the country tend to be better than parties supported by those who care only about themselves…but I think this premise is pretty solid as well.

          • (b) is crap. The actuality of (b) is that parties are more supported by those who think it will benefit *them* personally.. not the country. Good try to dress it up though.

          • Naturally you would think that. I expect almost everyone on the far Left does.

            However, were one to actually stop and think about it for more than 10 seconds, one would realize that there are plenty of counter-examples. People who vote pro-life, for example, are doing so out of concern for the unborn. Since voters are generally past the fetal stage, this is clearly not a vote that benefits *them* personally. People who vote based on a candidate’s personal integrity are clearly thinking of the country, not their personal benefit. Ditto for people who vote to balance the budget even though social programs that would benefit them personally will get cut (I’ve done this, as have many of my right-leaning friends when we were poor students).

            Good try to lower everyone to the Left’s level though.

          • Funny how the left claims to fight for democracy while advocating for a) restricting peoples’ ability to voluntarily contribute their time and money to the electoral process, and b) forcibly confiscating money from everyone to distribute to those currently in power so that they may remain in power.

          • You’re either saying that money has no effect on votes, or you’re saying that money does have an effect on the vote, and if those on the left choose not to buy votes, it’s their fault they lose.

            Neither one is compatible with the actual meaning of “democracy”.

          • Bribing people to vote for you is incompatible with democracy, yes. However buying ads to tell people why your party is worth voting for, and hiring a big campaign office call people and remind them to vote is entirely compatible with democracy.

            Therefore, money has an effect on the vote, and if used correctly this is compatible with democracy. That the left chooses not to donate money for this purpose indicates either that (a) the left is poor, or (b) the left is stingy. As I said earlier, I’m pretty sure CPC supporters are generally no wealthier than Liberal supporters. Therefore we are left with (b) the Left is stingy, making it their own damn fault their party relies on forced contributions.

        • Feeding Pluto
          . . . and war!
          Needless, aimless, endless war! And pillage, stealing others oil
          resources is big right now, and moral decay – and destruction of the
          family unit, even producing videos in large numbers with easy access,
          of brutal misuse of the females of the human species reducing them
          to used and abused animals, and penalizing all aspects of the family
          unit and civilized behavior, all for ROI and drunken debauchery, to
          replace religions, cultures, creeds, ethnicity, any sources of truth,
          with the Great Corporate American Propaganda Whores mesmerizations,
          incantations, and to produce in large numbers, sociopaths, to be used
          as cheaper cannon fodder pressured by noblese oblige tactics and much
          flag waving and use of the empty word ‘hero’, even to fight as
          mercenaries around the world for a few Uber Rich, corporate
          empowered, shareholding plutocrats in cabals that run the “Feds”
          the money – printers to the U.S. (Google Federal Reserve for a
          shock!) – all very workable until: Chinese Yuan ‘commiecapitalist’
          Chinese logic and the new Pan Eurasian Economic realities. illusion
          broken! Socialist, left views mean sharing the wealth that the
          arm-pits generate, no more amassing of Capital at the top, no more
          one-person fortunes used by the will of one person to re-invest to
          enrich themselves forever! Think hard retard! How much do you have in
          your pocket at the moment? Is it secure from the Vulture and
          Opportunist Capitalists? I think not. Every body must be pressed to
          achieve to their highest abilities – and all should be fairly
          remunerated, not just the few at the top, skimming the cream to
          enable them to buy even more control in order to build themselves a
          ‘Class Apart” in luxury and privilege. All must receive
          ‘equitable’ (to commensurate with true contribution) share all must
          have a recognizable, tangible “stake” and no body should
          be allowed to rape the system for personal gains. With the proper
          regulations in place, Capitalism works well, unregulated, it
          concentrates wealth at the top and poisons itself and has no place in
          a social democracy.