Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton argue in favour of the $2 per vote party subsidy.
But Ignatieff said the Liberals support the subsidies as a strong way to sustain democracy. “We’ve got a political system that is by international standards cheap, democratic and open,” he said. He said that if public subsidies are banned, “then little by little the big money comes back into politics.”
“Jean Chretien started to walk the big money out of politics. You cut public subsidy, you walk the big money back in. We think it’s the wrong way to go and if you want to know why it’s the wrong way to go, look south of the border.”
Layton was equally supporting of the subsidies. “A key element of democratic reform was to make sure that political parties represent the ideas of Canadians and can have their ideas considered in the public discourse.” Ending the subsidies would have dire consequences, warned Layton. “You’re going to end up with those who are able to ante up the bucks getting heard. And that is not democratic. It’s not right.”