Ottawa to cancel party subsidies with next budget -

Ottawa to cancel party subsidies with next budget

It’s still unclear whether the cut will be phased in


According to a Postmedia News report, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will cut government subsidies to political parties in his upcoming budget. Democratic Reform Minister Tim Uppal says the government was “still finalizing” the details surrounding the program’s cancellation, such as whether parties will be weaned off the subsidies, though an unnamed government official suggested they would be. Political parties currently receive $2 per vote cast in their favour, a program which Prime Minister Stephen Harper campaigned on ending.

National Post

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Ottawa to cancel party subsidies with next budget

  1. Political parties currently receive $2 per vote cast in their favour, a program which Prime Minister Stephen Harper eventually deigned to campaign on ending (rather than just ramming it through with the persistent and willful arrogance that has become synonymous with his name, since that didn’t work the first time and ended up making him look clumsy and petty, characteristics we were later to learn are quite appealing to voters in this day and age).

    Not that I’m bitter.

  2. As a first time voter living in Saskatchewan (a province that saw no change in the past election) I have to admit that knowing that my party of would recieve money for my vote was the only thing motivating me to head out to the polls. This plan to cancel the subsidies should really help with young voter apathy…

    • Now there’s a reallly really big streeeeetch for ya…cutting the voter sub is gonna help out little old democracy AND help with young voter apathy. Mr H is such a cool guy.

      • Better get your sarcasm glasses looked at. 

        • Oops…he did that very well didn’t he? Read twice comment once. Broke the first rule of blogging didn’t i? 

  3.  I assume parties have borrowed money from banks using this money as collateral. Probably need a few years to work out arrangements with banks. 

  4. Once again, the party that comes in with the philosophy that government can do nothing right is now attempting to prove it. 

    • The per-vote subsidy that parties get is a
      democratic mechanism that is supposed to make an election a contest of ideas
      instead of a contest of money and, the per-vote subsidy is probably the only democratic component of
      our flawed electoral system. It was put in place to rid our system of corporate
      and union donations which gives undue influence and power based on money. At
      least with the subsidy, the parties get the money based upon their popular

      Canada now spends about 27 million in per vote subsidy. It
      sounds like a lot of money! The reality is that the generous tax credits
      on donations and electoral expense reimbursements (about 75.5 million) cost the taxpayers much much more than the
      vote subsidy. If Harper was really interested in reducing the burden on the taxpayers,
      he would reduce the tax credits. The question you have to ask is; will
      this make us a more democratic society or less? I think it’s pretty obvious,
      big money and corporations have overtaken our government.

  5.  Whether you agree with it or not, the electorate voted for this subsidy (which was brought in by Mr. Chretien) to end.  Harper made it clear that if given a majority he would pull the plug on the subsidy.  He has his majority.

    • That is a fairly very generous interpretation of the will of the electorate.

      Btw, do you happen to have a link to a random survey that asked that specific question?  I googled and dogpiled for a few moments….which revealed no actual data.

      That’s too bad, some data would be interesting.

      • Are you asking me if the pollsters asked questions about the voter subsidy when they compiled their “oh-so reliable” polls about voters’ choices?  (Sorry I don’t usually employ the sarcasm card).  No, I do not have any data….just an opinion.  However, given that Harper’s minority govt was almost brought down by a coalition because of his last attempt to remove the voter subsidy and given his repeated assurances that he would remove the subsidy if given a majority…. 40% of the 60% of Canadians who bothered to vote, supported him…I would say many of the electorate are not too upset about the removal of the voter subsidy.  As I said before, the subsidy did not exist prior to Mr. Chretien and democracy was alive and well in Canada.  The Liberal party coffers actual were well replenshed this election by donations.

        • “… the subsidy did not exist prior to Mr. Chretien and democracy was alive and well in Canada.” 

          Corporate donations were the foundation of electoral funding prior to the subsidy; Chretien did away with those (to make interest peddling much harder) and replaced that funding with the subsidy. Removing the subsidy will make it harder for parties to raise money.

          It would be fairer instead to remove the tax credit for donations, as it is largely the well-to-do who can afford to contribute meaningfully, and they will want the interests of the well-to-do to be the primary focus of their recipients’ attention. In other words, it skews the attention of the parties away from those who most need it.

          • While that maybe true KeithBram, the Liberal party managed to raise quite a few funds this election through the donation process.  Some other people have pointed out in these blogs on other occasions, you can donate your time as well if you cannot donate money.  Also, there are groups like heart and stroke that take tiny donations and provide tax receipts. I know as I have been a door to door canvasser for 20 years.

          • The new regime is designed to stack the deck in favour of the Conservatives. The right wing has the benefit of having tens of thousands of middle class people who can spare a thousand or two dollars, do not have much pride/brains in terms of being pumped for money by having their fear glands stroked, and have a strong authoritarian streak of wanting to tell other people how to live their life.

          • Most CPC individual donors donate in the realm of $100, not $1100.  The LPC was historically the chief beneficiary of people with big wallets.

          • “The right wing has the benefit of having …”

            Do you live in Canada?

            Power Corp controlled our last two Liberal PM’s and has lots of connections with Bob Rae, its next likely leader. Tell us more about right wing authoritarianism in Canada, please. 

            The problem is that Liberals are too cheap to support their own party, even tho they are middle class and have lots of money. Expect everyone else to pay for them instead of supporting it themselves – that’s what makes them Liberals. 

            “The Conservative Party continues to do very well among high school and college graduates, though they still struggle in capturing the university educated vote.” Ekos, March, 2011

            ” Individuals at all levels of educational attainment are more likely  to volunteer  if  they live 
            in rural than urban areas, but this is particularly evident for those with a high school 
            diploma or more.” StatsCan

            “In 1986, Jean Chrétien resigned his seat and left public life for a time. Now working in the private sector again, Chrétien sat on the boards of several corporations, including Power Corporation of Canada subsidiary Consolidated Bathurst, the Toronto-Dominion Bank, and the Brick Warehouse Corporation.” Wiki – Jean Chretien 
            “In 1969, Power Corporation took a controlling-share in Canada Steamship Lines. On December 2, 1970, Paul Martin, the 32-year old executive assistant to Power Corporation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maurice Strong, was appointed to the CSL board of directors. In 1971 CSL minority shareholders sold outstanding shares to Power Corporation, making CSL a Power Corporation subsidiary.” Paul Martin – wiki

          •  It was mentioned at one time that the vote subsidy was a for Chretien to kick Martin in the balls on the way out since it would limit large donations to the Liberal Party.

          • You don’t think the union members who vote NDP are middle-class?  Given that a nurse in Alberta/Ontario/BC makes 80 thousand dollars a year; a teacher makes comparable and we all know what the auto workers are making…I would think they too can throw a few hundred dollars toward getting their party elected. 

          •  It always comes down to having to buy your democracy. It blows my mind that no one sees a problem with it.

          • Again, a DISLIKE button would be nice. . .

        • I was asking if, in your ‘travels’, you had ever come across survey results that showed how Canadians feel about the per vote subsidy.  Ideally this would have been just one question out of a few about political parties in general and how political parties are financed, and would not have been a part of a survey about voting intentions at all.  Then we would both actually know how Canadians feel about the per vote subsidy, instead of using the crude proxy of the results of a federal election.

          My larger point is that I believe that it is extremely unlikely that the per vote subsidy was the factor that swung any more than a few votes to the CPC.  When voters actually pick up the pencil and mark the X, they are merging a myriad of individual preferences, likes and dislikes into a single decision – to say that the CPC victory clearly vindicates any particular upcoming action is misguided.

          But to be clear, I do agree that the CPC has clearly attained a majority government, and they are now free to implement pretty much whatever combination of policies they want to implement, whether they were a part of the campaign or not, even policies that actually go against campaign statements.  As well, we are all free to try to influence our MPs for the next four years or so, and then at the end of those four years we are also free to use the CPC record as one of many factors to decide our next vote.

          • In response to your question, no I have never heard of any surveys done that questioned Canadians’ attitudes on the per vote subsidy.  However, you must admit that the per vote subsidy has been a big issue in parliament given Harper’s introduction of it right after the last election, the whole coalition and then his decision to proague parliament; the end of Stephene Dion’s leadership of the Liberal party, etc.  You cannot say that voters who cast a ballot for the CPC did not know full well that Harper was going to end the subsidy.  You say it was not an issue that swung any voters to the CPC…I say you are right but it didn’t swing any voters away from the CPC either.  You are making my point for me.  The loss of the subsidy is not that important in the minds of many Canadians.

  6. Democracy  will take another body blow from Harper. The voter subsidy is a very important equaliser.  If you are owned by big oil and big business you do not need the subsidy but ordinary people need to be represented as well.    Harper knows this and to quote him ,”my priority is to remain Prime Minister”.  

    •  Given that corporate and individual caps remain in place, the parties that will suffer most are ones lacking in numbers of genuine supporters willing to back their vote with funds.
      aka grassroots memberships

      Now if we could only cut lobbyist off at the knees (sigh, yes big evil oil too).

      • I fully expect that corporate and individual caps will be raised, using the excuse that, with the subsidies gone, parties are underfunded and it’s “only fair” that they therefore allow those willing and able to contribute more to “the health of our democracy” to do so.

        Call me cynical, but based on the CPC’s behaviour to date, I don’t think the Democratic Reform Minister has any serious reform on his plate other than coming up with ways to kneecap the opposition and make it easier for the CPC to stay in power. Though I’d be pleasantly surprised if it turns out I’m wrong.

      •  Grassroots do not lend democratic legitimacy. Ten thousand people giving the max allowed would be more than enough to control a political party. That ten thousand need not, and is virtually guaranteed not to be representative of the general population. Making political parties slaves to rabid interest groups rather than the broad, mostly disinterested electorate, is not democracy.

        •  Party membership is party membership. It’s still more democratic than allowing large individual or corporate donations. Heck what’s democratic about supporting a fringe party with taxpayers money?
          The populace needs to awaken to the reality that in some manner their vote is being bought and paid for. It’s just a matter of who and when.

          • What’s democratic about supporting a fringe party with taxpayer money?   The fact that the money supporting that party CAME from that taxpayer and her/his vote.  There is nothing more democratic than providing public funding to parties based on the number of supporters they have.  That way, the party gets money regardless of how poor or marginalized or wotherwise incapable of donating their followers are.  If you truly believe that parties should be funded based on how many supporters they have, there is no better way to measure it than with votes.      

  7. If only he could have accomplished that before the last election. We probably wouldn’t have Liz May feasting at the public trough today! 

    • [DISLIKE]

      (Man, I miss those “down” thumbs!)

    •  The biggest hogs are your boys. Half the Conservative Party Re-election Machine are nominal federal employees. Everyone gets to make huge, involuntary donations to the Conservative Party when they pay their taxes.

      • This comment doesn’t really make any sense. . .

        • Ministerial staffers are political flunkies paid for by the federal taxpayer. People who are being paid to do work for the people of Canada are instead working on re-electing the Conservative Party. This happens with every government, and gives the incumbent a huge advantage. Complaining about legitimately elected MPs ‘feasting at the public trough’ is dishonest in the extreme.