The end of the vote subsidy - Macleans.ca
 

The end of the vote subsidy


 

The Conservatives will, as promised, move to phase out the per vote subsidy. Marc Garneau, whose Liberal party will be most wounded, wonders if it’s time to raise the limit on individual donations.

Liberals will, however, press for an increase in individual donation limits if Conservatives do end the subsidy, he said. “If individuals want to give more than the $1,100, that’s something that should be discussed,” he said. “I think it’s regrettable. We will vote against it, but given the fact that we can’t stop it, I think that one has to put that on the table as a possibility.”


 

The end of the vote subsidy

  1. If we’re going to spend tax dollars to subsidize political parties, then it should be equitable. Alloting it per vote at least had the benefit of ensuring that earning a vote was earning some of that money.
     
    This move however ensures that those with more disposable income have more influence on political parties. Perhaps that has always been and always will be the case, but it adds insult to injury that such a large portion of a donation is recuperable at tax time, when those who can’t donate are being stripped of the little piece they were given.

    Once this passes, the money I get back from donating $1K to a party means that another Canadian who didn’t support my party, is picking up part of that bill.

    If we’re going down this road, why not end all political subsidies, rather than cherry picking those that benefit one party over another?

    When will “golden rule” politics ever be stamped out?

    • “…rather than cherry picking those that benefit one party over another?”

      It is only considered cherry picking because Liberals are too cheap to support their own party. Liberals consider themselves to be Brahmins of society – they want to be in charge but don’t want to put money where mouth is. 

      It is not cherry picking if every party has to follow the same rules and procedures – the problem is the supporters who don’t want to support their own party and try to convince the rest of us democracy is under threat because they are miserly with their money. 

      Latte liberals don’t want to give up their lattes to support liberalism.

      • So you’re not actually arguing against it being cherry picking, you’re just saying “Blame those other guys for it being cherry picking. If they conformed and acted how they’re SUPPOSED to act, it’d be perfectly fair”

        Good to know.

        • Liberals, and their belief in science and intellectualism, have concluded that high school and college educated are the rich of our society with lots of disposable income while poor university grads struggle to make ends meet and can’t be expected to support political party. 

          The problem is Liberals, Thwim, not money because libs have considerably more university educated supporters than Cons do.

          “In terms of political participation, rural university degree holders are more likely to be active than those from urban areas.” StatsCan

          ” Rural residents are more  likely to provide unpaid volunteer work for an organization but rural residents are no more likely than urban residents to  give unpaid help to people that they know” StatsCan

          “While less than one in five attend church regularly, those who do are far more likely to give to charities, and are substantially more liberal in the size of their gifts to both religious and non-religious organizations. The average annual donation from a churchgoer is $1,038. For the rest of the population, $295.

          With respect to volunteer effort, two-thirds of churchgoers give their time to non-profit causes while only 43 per cent of non-attendees do likewise.” Macleans, Do Atheists Care Less? 

          “Second, there is a widening gap between Liberal and Conservative supporters among the university educated versus the college educated. Among college graduates polled in the second week of the survey, 37.7 preferred the Conservatives while 19.7 chose the Liberals. Among those with university degrees, however, 28.3 chose the Conservatives while 33.1 per cent said they supported the Liberals.” Ekos, July, 2010

          • “While less than one in five attend church regularly, those who do are
            far more likely to give to charities, and are substantially more liberal
            in the size of their gifts to both religious and non-religious
            organizations. The average annual donation from a churchgoer is $1,038.
            For the rest of the population, $295.”

            What’s the effect of tithing (Jesus tax) in the evangelical movement on this figure?

          • Instead of worrying about religious people donating too much money and time to help homeless, how about you get vexed by miserly atheists who contribute little to society.

          • I’m interested in comparing apples to apples. Maybe they are less generous (though non-church goers seem to be 80%, and not all are atheist).

            All I know is that there are no atheist palaces for ‘head atheists’, community centres, etc. And if funding those are included in ‘charitable donations’, it skews the numbers. Get bent out of shape about that if you want.

      • For most of the last 10 years, I have earned an income of $30k or less, while carrying tens of thousands of dollars in education debt.

        I challenge you to tell me how I am supposed to cough up 1/30 of my paltry annual income (until tax time, when I get a portion of it back) to support my political party of choice?

        Add to this the fact that political contributions are largely tax-deductible and you have a two-fold argument against removing the per vote subsidy: 1) Those with lower incomes can’t afford to support their parties through direct donations (even if they’d get part of it back at tax time) and 2) The amount of lost tax income from the tax credits generated by political dontations probably far outweighs the meagre savings of the $2 per vote subsidy.

        • Who says you have to donate $1,000. Why not $50 if it’s that important to you? Why not donate some of your time? Why get others to involuntarily donate to your preferred party?

          • $50 hurts when your income is$30k.

            I think I should also mention that the proposed ‘savings’ is sort of bs. That’s the part I disagree with more than anything. If you want to eliminate the per vote subsidy, also eliminate the tax credits for political donations and reduce the maximum donation to something approachable for ALL Canadians–including the ones who are unemployed or underpaid. I kind of agree with many commenters here who equate parties with lobby groups. There should be no subsidization via tax credits if there’s any at all. At least the per vote subsidy was approaching something representative. As soon as that subsidy is eliminated, my vote effectively means NOTHING if I do not vote for the candidate who takes the riding.

          • You don’t seem to want to make any sacrifice of your own to support the party of your choice, but you then turn around and force people to make their sacrifices.

            You also want to equate political parties with lobby groups, except you want to subsidize them with taxpayer dollars. How does that logic work?

            How is a per-vote subsidy representative when you’re forcing people to donate to private organizations? Why is it such an incredible demand on parties to get citizens to donate to them directly?

          • Look, I think that a whole party system is pretty much contrary to democracy on the whole. Instead of honestly representing the populace within their ridings, MPs vote along party lines for the most part. I’d do away with the whole party system altogether if I were a god. Hell—in my brain, there are no political parties vying for the attention of my neurons.

            But if we’re going to work within a system that for some idiotic reason (voter apathy, laziness, an unwillingness to devote a modicum of attention to a candidate and general receptiveness to propagandist drivel) values political parties as a big red, orange or blue security blanket of soothing, affirming groupthink, then we should at least have some kind of funding system that allows these parties to be funded that is proportionate to the popular support they garner.

  2. Another short-sighted move by Cons. They run everything the same way they do the Alberta economy…with no thought for the future.

  3. half-arsed measure, just like senate reform;  if public subsidies are an affront to democracy, then kill all of the public subsidies. (although it would be reasonable to make political donations the same as donating to registered charities, with the 13-25% tax credit)

    • The worst part is, unlike Senate “reform”, the federal government has all of the power it needs to do the job right the first time. 

    • That’s not even reasonable. You don’t get a charitable tax credit when you donate to greenpeace, after all. Why? Because it’s not a charity, it’s a lobby group. What is a political party but a massive lobby group? Certainly not a charity.

  4. Thus it begins. This measure will go a long way to ensuring we have only two parties vying for power in this country, with everyone else hanging on by their finger nails. The fact that one of the principle victims will likely be the LPC is no doubt something to celebrate for many partisans – but others will be hurt too. And cutting off your democratic nose to spite your partisan face is infantile, and highlights a broadly based desire to win as opposed to win fairly in much of our political class.
    It”ll be interesting to see how hard Jack fights this – early signs here are not much…sigh…

    • If Rae is smart he might yet make political hay out of this. Not withstanding the hypocrisy of this Harper move, it is undoubtedly popular with the public. Why not concede some need for a less generous political subsidy, this while pushing hard for a reduction in the other subsidy, the one that is actually far more of an involuntary donation from taxpayers who may not support the recipient party. This would also be popular with the public – not so much with the CPC.
      I don’t know if that would pour on more agony for the LPC, but it would be a step in the direction of a more radical principled liberal party; one that i could support. Building a party that is willing to put the publics interest truly ahead of the parties. Unlike that faux democrat Harper, and the yet to be established Layton position.

  5. The Harper government moves to kill an unpopular subsidy for political parties, as promised during the campaign. I guess democracy actually does prevail in Canada. Who’d a thunk.

    • True. Most people don’t like it.
      Of course, most people didn’t like the idea of black people being free, homosexuals being allowed to live openly, women being allowed to vote, or a whole host of other things.

      Just because the masses like or don’t like something doesn’t make it correct.

      • You have that much contempt for democracy, do you? And you’re comparing subsidies to parties to freeing the slaves? My God. Like I keep saying, I’ve never seen an opposition so out of touch, and the election showed it, didn’t it. Wow.

        • Wow. Touchy much?  I just pointed out that just because the masses prefer something doesn’t mean we should discard our brains and conclude it’s the right thing to happen.

          This has nothing to do with my respect for democracy, but that you have to stoop to insulting me like that rather than addressing the substance of my comment is telling.

          • So you now know better than Canadians on the topic of political subsidies, do you? lol. Next.

          • Well, since you haven’t provided any evidence to suggest it’s the right thing to do other than it’s the will of the masses, while up above, Phil King has several cogent points as to why it’s the wrong thing to do, I at least seem to know better than you.

            Incidentally, it’s kind of funny that you put out the “lol. Next,” before at all addressing the substantive point of my comment. Whats’ the matter, simply don’t have anything substantive again?

          • The issue has been debated for years now. We’ve had an election over it. You lost, but you think you’re smarter than the rest of us. lol

          • Always with the personal attacks, never with any substance or facts.

            Typical.

          • Your position is that you know better than Canadians on this issue, right? Even after debate and an election, yes? Next.

          • My position, as stated above, is that just because the majority prefers something doesn’t mean that it’s correct and that we should stop thinking.

            I’ve given no comment on whether it’s right or wrong, that’s all you, Dennis. You’re the one who wants to disengage brain the moment the majority agrees to something.

            Unless of course it’s something you don’t agree with, then you’ll argue to the cows come home, even in the face of science.

          • Yes, democracy is so awful to you. lol. Your position is asinine. And you hate to have it exposed. Thanks.

      • “Of course, most people didn’t like the idea of black people being free, homosexuals being allowed to live openly, women being allowed to vote, or a whole host of other things.”

        Thwim, have you actually got any hard evidence to back this assertion up?

        • Most history books are pretty clear on it.  You’ve read some, I hope?
          Fortunately, people change.

          • My apologies, Thwim, reading comprehension fail on my part.  I didn’t notice that you had expressed that in the past tense )”didn’t like the idea”).  Of course I agree with that statement, all three of those matters were historically unpopular.
             
            Having said that, I think your analogy is a bit of an overreach — I just don’t think you can equate opposition to a vote subsidy to opposition to emancipation, homosexuality or universal suffrage.  I’m sorry, but it’s just not on the same level, substantively or morally speaking.

          • Substantively, it’s just an example of where the majority of people believed in something that was not correct. Had we stopped thinking about it just because “Hey, that’s what most people want”, as Dennis implies we should do, we’d be in a much worse position.

          • Then why even have democracy?

  6. Dumb move for the Liberals.  Trying to amend the motion to raise the individual limits just plays into their image as being beholden to Bay street.

    Instead, hit the CPC where it hurts, and argue for the tax-subsidy for donations to be eliminated as well.  You can argue for this based on reducing government spending, on being equitable with other lobby groups, and on the subsidy being a distortion of democracy toward those with more money.

    Drop the tax write-off for the CPC, and their tax-averse donation base will be a lot less likely to donate, while the Liberal’s base, which isn’t as tax-averse, shouldn’t be affected as much.

    • I wish you would send this over to the libs. I said pretty much the same thing above. I think it might be a difficult choice for them since they’ll need to expand their base now more then ever. But still it’s the right thing to do and politically smart. I sorta makes me glad that Garneau didn’t win the interim leadership – he doesn’t seem all that savvy – politically speaking. They need to rebrand[ hate that buzz word already] as a radical centrist Party that is willing to pay a price; at least on the big issues. 

    • I agree with this, particularly as I’m happy that the vote subsidy is going but would love to see the tax-donation subsidy go as well.

      I’d be interested to know what effect the removal of the tax-donation subsidy would have on donations.  It should just make everyone donate less rather than not donate at all, but that all depends on how rational they are.

    • No.  Argue for the expense reimbursement to be eliminated.  It is the biggest benefactor to political parties (i.e., the one that costs taxpayers the most) AND it has the added and very welcome bonus of having political parties think long and hard before paying money for advertising.  So maybe they won’t quite as much, or only during an election period, or something.  Win/Win!

  7. Clearly a partisan move by the Tories, which I don’t totally agree with. The only upside is that the Bloc will have its fundraising severely reduced. But I only say that as a partisan anti-Bloc voter.

    Garneau has the right idea AND the right attitude. Rather than whine about the move, he’s proposing alternatives/solutions, which I agree with. I say Ottawa should double the donation limit and maybe even allow companies to donate again (within that same limit).

    • Allowing companies to donate, within any limit, is a bad idea.
      Why? Because it takes me all of 15 minutes to set up a company.

      Remember, a company is simply a legal fiction. There’s no reason whatsoever for companies to be able to donate.  Their CEOs, their shareholders, sure. But under their individual names. Not companies.

      • Also there is the issue that company directors may decide to donate to a party that their shareholders do not support.  The one thing I really like about Chretien’s changes that brought in the per-vote subsidy was preventing corporate and union donations.

    • Should it also double the tax exemption – you give $800 and taxpayers pay $700 of it?

  8. Now it’ll be time for Liberals to put their money where their mouth is, which is doubtful.

    I predict a long, painfully slow death of the Liberal party with much trashing and spewing of vitriol.

    • And I predict much of the vitriol will come from folks like you pulling crap predictions out of their arses.

  9. Third-party political advertising shouldn’t be too far behind?

  10. @TonyAdams
     
    Nearly as much money is spent subsidizing donations as is spent subsidizing votes, and yet those same tax dollars represent the support far fewer Canadians.
     
    Despite this, the subsidy being targetted as “excessive” just happens to be the one that benefits the government’s political machine. You don’t find that a tad… convenient?
     
    It’s a clear and simple fact based on observation: The per vote subsidy is based on broad democratic support from all voters, while the donation subsidy is based on the affluence of party supporters.
     
    Defend that if you wish, but don’t blame me for the taste in your mouth. Expecially when one accounts for the crass difference in the representation of those tax dollars as noted below. 
     
    “…$400 in per-vote subsidies would cost the taxpayer $856, as all of it comes from the public purse. But that $400 allowance represents the democratic voice of 200 Canadians. The $400 donation, costing taxpayers $756, represents the voice of one…” 
    http://threehundredeight.blogspot.com/2011/01/per-vote-subsidy-but-fraction-of.html

    • “t’s a clear and simple fact based on observation …. ”

      Most current stats I could find quickly. Who are you who are so wise in ways of science? 

      Cons have base of high school and college educated people who donate small amounts of money to party while Libs have to rely on a few educated and wealthy people for cash. 

      Monday, May 30, 2005OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch released its initial analysis of the first quarterly disclosure of donations to federal political parties under the new political donations system. 
       
      1) the Liberal Party receives four times more money from riding associations and candidates than all the other parties combined ….

      2) the Liberals have many more donors donating more than $1,000 than all the other parties combined

      3) the average donation to the Liberals was 3-5 times larger than the other parties (average donations were Bloc – $66.10; Conservatives – $90.23 (under $200 – ed.); Greens – $62.26; Liberals – $314.84, and; NDP – $64.57);

      4) the Conservative Party has a base of individual donors that is much larger than the other four parties (the Conservatives received donations from 28,624 individuals, 3.3 times more than the NDP (which received donations from 8,663 individuals), 5.29 times more than the Liberals (which received donations from 5,409 individuals), 15.19 times more than the Bloc (which received donations from 1,884 individuals), and 40.03 times more than the Green Party (which received donations from 715 individuals)

      • That’s certainly an interesting set of facts, but very dated don’t you think?
         
        I have no doubt that in 2005 the LPC was getting larger donations. At the time they were very high in the polls and had ruled for 13 years.
         
        I had considerably more respect for Harper at that time period too. He really did seem to be a grassroots guy.
         
        I’d be very interested to see what the donation profiles are today.
         
        And incidentally, none of this changes the fact that vote subsidy is far more representative of population’s actual support than is the donation subsidy.
         
        Donations are inherently from a limited group as compared to the number of people who vote. Orders of magnitude different in fact.

        I don’t think it’s very democratic to have a small dedicated group rule the roost simply because they all have money. Affluence isn’t neccesarily about being “rich” afterall.

  11. I’m sure we all want our political parties to “earn” their operating funds right?
     
    The question for me is, what does “earn” mean?
     
    We all seem to be arguing over two main models:
     
    Method A: Convincing a naturally limited group of people to donate as much as they can.

    Method B: Convincing as many Canadians as possible to vote for you and being rewarded accordingly.
     
    Method A is slightly cheaper but comes from far fewer people and is based somewhat on affluence, distorting political influence in favour of this limited sample of the population. Its main strength lies in generating sudden challenges to the status quo.
     
    Method B is slightly more expensive but represents every single Canadian voter’s opinion. Its singular weakness lies in the fact that it is always based on previous rather than current support, resulting is slower, though more measured, change.
     
    Personally I think we need some of both to provide balance, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be an option.

    Instead we’re going with the option that helps the government destroy its political enemies.

    Whoopee.

    • “Method B is slightly more expensive but represents every single Canadian voter’s opinion. Its singular weakness … ”

      I am Canadian and it doesn’t represent my opinion because I vote Libertarian but they don’t receive enough votes to qualify for subsidy. Typical Canadian/Liberal program – my vote is worth less than yours because I don’t meet your rules.

      Subsidies allow parties to behave any way they wish because they are not responsible to anyone, while relying on donations from individuals will make them more responsive to base. 

      Few Libs are giving to party, brain trust doesn’t care about base and does what it likes, and look where that is getting them. NDP and Cons most active base, do best in elections. Not a coincidence.

      “For each registered federal political party that received at least 2% of all valid votes the last general election or at least 5% of the valid votes in the electoral districts in which it had a candidate, the per-vote subsidy, also referred to as the “government allowance”, gives the party an inflation-indexed subsidy each year of $2.04 per vote received in the last election” wiki

      • There’s no perfect system Tony, but we do have the ability to provide balance and mitigate perverse distortions through a measured mixture of funding types.
         
        Per vote subsidies are inherently pro-status quo. I agree that there are some problems associated with that. They inherently reward popularity and squeeze out start ups. However they also provide a measure of stability in the political system so that say the Communist party or the Rhino party aren’t getting public dollars for simply existing.
         
        Conversely, donation subsidies are inherently pro-individual. The value of a single voter’s donation is greatly exaggerated by the donation subsidy. I’m sure you can see why that would be. This is where the opportunity for start ups lies. It’s a test threshold to make sure a party is really viable.
         
        Now @OrsonBean makes a good point in saying the sky won’t fall because we cut out vote subsidies, and of course it’s true. I just think it’s an obviously crass political tactic designed to reduce competition that ignores basic logic.
         
        I think we can all agree that competition in the political arena is extremely important, and I don’t like seeing this kind of thing happening.

        • “There’s no perfect system Tony …. ”

          That’s it … that’s  your answer?

          How about everyone treated the same instead of elite deciding who it is acceptable for Canadians to vote for.  

          I love your answer – happy to take my taxes to pay for other people’s political parties but when I would like to be treated same as everyone else, answer is ”well, there is no perfect system ….” 

          And I don’t understand what your problem with donation subsidies – people pay taxes and get some of that back when they donate. Exactly same principle as $2 per vote.

          • Yes there is no perfect system Tony. Not vote subsidies, not donation subsidies, not riding subsidies etc. That’s precisely why we need more than one method of financing, to create balance and ensure stability in party funding.

            The simple fact is that the vote subsidy is more democratic in terms of dollar for dollar influence as compared to donation subsidies. It increases the value of the vote and it increases the representation ratio of the party financing.

            As far as the bar set for the vote subsidy, you cannot seriously expect Canadians to pay money to parties with no viability. It’s wasteful and sketchy. If the Greens are getting party financing, then obviously the bar isn’t that high.

            I also think that donations are incredibly important to the system, especially in terms of grassroots political change, but by itself it’s an unbalanced form of funding that gives too much power to a small group of people.

            “…$400 in per-vote subsidies would cost the taxpayer $856, as all of it comes from the public purse. But that $400 allowance represents the democratic voice of 200 Canadians. The $400 donation, costing taxpayers $756, represents the voice of one…” http://threehundredeight.blogs…

          • “…you cannot seriously expect Canadians to pay money to parties with no viability.”

            Unless you are saying I am not Canadian because I vote for party that is not approved by establishment, it is my $$$$ that would be going to Libertarian party because I pay taxes here just like everyone else.

            To have my vote treated like everyone else’s does not seem like a lot to expect from my Government. It is not a natural law that some votes are more equal than others.

            You can debate yourself, let us know what you conclude: 

            a) Method B is slightly more expensive but represents every single Canadian voter’s opinion.

            b) …. you cannot seriously expect Canadians to pay money to parties with no viability.

            c) Are you seriously suggesting that you mind $2 going to the party you voted for?

            d) Yes there is no perfect system ….

    • Phil, I think your position is well-argued as far as it goes.  But I can still see, from a libertarian point of view, how and why many people would find the per-vote subsidy to be offensive.  I am essentially forced to “donate”, via my tax dollars, to political parties I do no support, and  in fact may vehemently and viscerally oppose.  I realize, though, that there are holes in the donation system as well, what with the tax treatment and all.
       
      I can see why it’s  a perfectly legitimate position for a Canadian taxpayer to say “let the parties finance themselves”.  I realize that abuses can occur if campaign finance is left completely up to the marketplace, but to assume that the US system (which bites) is the inevitable result of us not supporting the status quo, that’s just a false dichotomy.

      • Hey Orson, I get your point in the second paragraph. We don’t want to overstate the risk altogether. Fair enough.
         
        My preference for a mix of funding goes simply to the idea that we don’t want too much volatility or too much stability, but a measure of both. I see no harm in trying to be proactive in that regard.
         
        As far as “your/our” tax dollars, if we’re being honest, subsidizing donations is a far more egregious abuse of that concept than subsidizing votes. At least the vote subsidy requires the democratic support of a voter, whereas the donation subsidy clearly pays back more to the party for that single voter’s donation, than does the vote subsidy.
         
        So frankly, if you’re concerned about “your/our” tax dollars going to parties you didn’t support, I’d be more annoyed by the donation subsidy than the vote subsidy.
         
        All that said, I can understand the view of a disenfranchised individual such as say a Libertarian, being annoyed at being squeezed out altogether. There is however no obvious solution to that dilemna that I can see.

      • I don’t understand this argument.  You vote for the party you support.  The $2 from your vote goes to that party alone.  How are you being forced to supplement parties you don’t support?  How is the $2 from someone else’s vote (from the public purse) affecting your tax situation any differently than a 75% tax rebate on a donation sent to that party?

        • What I don’t understand is why is a person’s vote being used for anything else but a vote for their preferred candidate? Isn’t the per-vote subsidy a perversion of the act of voting? A vote is supposed to be an electoral act, not a financing one. Why is it so hard for someone who wants their two dollars go to a certain party to do so voluntarily instead of being forced to do so?

          • Actually I think it increases the power of the vote. Not only does it provide electoral support, but also monetary support to ensure the party is stable financially to some degree. It gives them one more reason to vote.
             
            I’m all for voluntary donations, and I think it’s very important to keep that aspect of party financing, but it is demonstrably more efficient to translate votes into monetary support to some degree.
             
            After all Dennis, there are a number of reasons people don’t donate to parties. Besides affluence and location, even just the basic logistics and administrative costs of trying to collect $2 from every voter through a donation/collection system means a lot of that money is essentially lost just trying to collect it.

            Why shouldn’t we strive for efficiency? Are you seriously suggesting that you mind $2 going to the party you voted for?

          • The decision to tie a person’s vote to party financing is completely arbitrary. You’re deciding for voters what should be done with their money, in part to support parties who can’t raise funds on their own. You call the latter inefficiency. I call it poor organizational and grassroots skills.

            Besides, I don’t see any evidence that the per-vote subsidy motivates people to vote. In fact, it seemed to add to the cynicism that’s already out there. Who’s to say that some people don’t vote because they don’t want to see parties getting some of their earned income?

            I also cringe when people talk about striving for “efficiency” with other people’s money. Let people decide where it goes. Let their votes remain as votes.

            Also, why would it be so hard for anyone to donate a few bucks voluntarily to a party they think should be supported directly?

            You’re not fostering an engaged citizenry with this vote subsidy. I think you’re doing just the opposite.

          • “…The decision to tie a person’s vote to party financing is completely arbitrary. You’re deciding for voters what should be done with their money…”

            Dennis, that’s what government does. It decides for voters how money should be spent. I can’t imagine, nor have I ever heard someone complain that the party they voted didn’t deserve a couple bucks on their behalf.

            You’re trying to argue that there’s some inherent merit in having a monster collection machine, but you haven’t really supported that contention.

            As far as “engagment” I don’t agree at all. The subsidy is based on how many votes a party gets, so parties who become less engaged end up getting fewer votes, and less of a subsidy. If anything, the per-vote subsidy significantly increases the incentive for parties to stay connected with their membership and attract new members.

          • A government never decides what’s done with taxpayer’s money without their consent. That’s why we have elections. And, in the last election we’ve had, voters said don’t touch their money for the per-vote subsidy, didn’t they.

            You’re trying to argue that there’s some inherent merit in having a
            monster collection machine, but you haven’t really supported that
            contention.

            I think serious parties should be able to raise their own money. If they can’t, then they shouldn’t be a party. It’s integral to what it meant to be a political party to know how to raise cash from supporters. So, I think that’s a pretty straight-forward example of supporting my contention, thank you very much.

            The subsidy arbitrarily ties a vote to a financial contribution. Why? What does the one have to do with the other? Why can’t people donate a couple of their own bucks voluntarily? Why is that so hard? I don’t get it.

          • You didn’t answer any of my questions.

  12. @Dennis_F:disqus “…in the last election we’ve had, voters said don’t touch their money for the per-vote subsidy, didn’t they…”

    Did they really? Was there some huge debate over this that I missed? I don’t recall the per vote subsidy being a huge discussion point in this election. In fact I don’t even think I heard it raised until after the election.

    Given the limited choices and the vast number of planks each party has, it’s preposterous to suggest that people uniformly agree on every notion that comes into a leader’s head, rather than on the main points he made repeatedly during the election, and I think you know that.

    You seem to prefer a system that emphasizes the support of the politically active over those who aren’t. Well frankly I don’t think giving small groups that much unchecked power promotes a proper balance in a democracy. Everyone is governed and thus collective opinion matters, not just organized opinion.

    I believe we should emphasize the power of the vote and seek to represent everyone’s collective opinion as best as possible, whether they are politically active or not. A healthy democracy is not just about who gets elected, but also how our system is financed on balance.

    We have that balance. I say leave it alone.

  13. Also, I am aware that my sentences are barely cogent. I am underrested and my left eye won’t stop twitching either out of irritation or genuine fatigue. 

    • “I am underrested and my left eye won’t stop twitching either out of irritation … ”

      I hope you are ok but your comment cracked me up. Thanks for laugh. 

      My eye gets twitchy as well and it is definitely due to irritation reading stuck on stupid comments, or it is for me at least.

  14. @Tony_Adams:disqus “…Unless you are saying I am not Canadian because I vote for party that is not approved by establishment, it is my two $$$$ that would be going to Libertarian party because I pay taxes here just like everyone else. No one is asking Canadians to do anything that they aren’t doing for everyone else already…”

    Then advocate for that instead of proposing we throw the baby out with the bath water. I don’t buy your chagrin anyways. I think the real reason you support this is your desire to derail other parties and lower the level of competition. You don’t seem to be thinking too hard about what that’s going to mean in the long run either.

    “…You are going round in circles trying to convince yourself that Libs aren’t cheap, and that this is really about democracy, but it isn’t working…”

    While I realize that everything is some kind of partisan duality to you, I don’t buy into that dichotomy. For many years I was a Progressive Conservative voter and card holder. Since the merger I’ve voted Green and even voted once for Ed Broadbent, since he was in my riding and is a man of great integrity. This election I voted Liberal, for many of the reason that Andrew Coyne cited.So despite your mischaracterization, I think this is very much about democracy, or should I say, the lack of it that I see coming in the near future.
    “…You are going round in circles trying to convince yourself that Libs aren’t cheap, and that this is really about democracy, but it isn’t working…”

    While I realize that everything is some kind of partisan duality to you, I don’t buy into that dichotomy. For many years I was a Progressive Conservative voter and card holder. Since the merger I’ve voted Green and even voted once for Ed Broadbent, since he was in my riding and is a man of great integrity. This election I voted Liberal, for many of the reason that Andrew Coyne cited.

    So despite your mischaracterization, I think this is very much about democracy, or should I say, the lack of it that I see coming in the near future.

    • “I think the real reason you support this is your desire to derail other parties and lower the level of competition. You don’t seem to be thinking too hard about what that’s going to mean in the long run either.”

      1) Subsidies to a few political parties, while omitting the rest from same rules,  does not increase competition. Not giving my tax $$$ to political party that I vote for – but giving tax $$$ to party you support – does not improve competition. 

      Chretien wrote those subsidies rules, there are not a natural law, and Libs want as little competition as possible because no one votes for them anymore and their university educated supporters are too cheap to donate to party. 

      Parties put their interests ahead of Canadians, I would be delighted if all political parties disappear. Parties only represent small sliver of people and the rest of us get the shaft. As one example, Harper/Cons denied Canadians their property rights in Potash Corp decision because they were worried about losing two seats in Sask. All parties do this.

      2) “While I realize that everything is some kind of partisan duality to you, I don’t buy into that dichotomy.”  

      This isn’t about you, Phil King. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, or what you do with time/money, because proof is in pudding – not enough liberals care about their party.

       Dichotomies exist, it doesn’t matter what you ‘buy into’. If there is a dichotomy, I would say it breaks down urban/rural or university educated v everyone else, not left/right or rich/poor, because both NDP and Cons did well in election, Libs/BQ do poorly.

      Your short history of voting record leaves out info: have you donated time or money to men of integrity? 
       ———————-

      “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

      -“Second, there is a widening gap between Liberal and Conservative supporters among the university educated versus the college educated. Among college graduates polled in the second week of the survey, 37.7 preferred the Conservatives while 19.7 chose the Liberals. Among those with university degrees, however, 28.3 chose the Conservatives while 33.1 per cent said they supported the Liberals.” Ekos, July, 2010

      -“While less than one in five attend church regularly, those who do are far more likely to give to charities, and are substantially more liberal in the size of their gifts to both religious and non-religious organizations. The average annual donation from a churchgoer is $1,038. For the rest of the population, $295.” Macleans, Do Atheists Care Less? 

      -” Public meeting attendance is higher in rural areas and the difference between rural and urban residents in this regard is similar at all educational levels”

      -“the average donation to the Liberals was 3-5 times larger than the other parties (average donations were Bloc – $66.10; Conservatives – $90.23 (under $200 – ed.); Greens – $62.26; Liberals – $314.84, and; NDP – $64.57)” Democracy Watch 2005

      -“the Conservative Party has a base of individual donors that is much larger than the other four parties (the Conservatives received donations from 28,624 individuals, 3.3 times more than the NDP (which received donations from 8,663 individuals), 5.29 times more than the Liberals (which received donations from 5,409 individuals), 15.19 times more than the Bloc (which received donations from 1,884 individuals), and 40.03 times more than the Green Party (which received donations from 715 individuals)”

      • “…This isn’t about you, Phil King. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, or what you do with time/money, because proof is in pudding – not enough liberals care about their party…”

        Jeepers, you wouldn’t know the point if it stuck you in the rear would you?

        My point Tony, is that I’m not a Liberal and have no particular interest in them over another party in the grand scheme of things.

        I grew up during a time where the Conservatives and Liberals were equally capable of taking government and it was seen (at least in my family) to be the duty of voters to make sure neither one nor the other got too full of itself.

        My concern is how the rules, or the changing of the rules affects the competitiveness of our political system, especially given what I characterize as the terribly anti-democratic behaviour of Harper’s party.

        After thousands of words you have aptly demonstrated that there are no compelling reasons to change the funding system for parties. The result will be the erosion of choice for voters.

    • ” I don’t buy your chagrin anyways.”

       You don’t buy my ‘chagrin’ that my vote is worth less than yours because of Liberal rules? Am I supposed to appreciate Government telling me I am somehow different, or less worthy, because of who I vote for?

      Government is happy to take my money but when I would like say in how it is spent I am told too bad, those are the rules. 

      Jane Galt, The Atlantic, Dec 2009: “Libertarians are process people, something that our political opponents find impossible to believe can be real, rather than disingenuous. 

      So when I say that I think Lawrence v. Texas might be the right result morally but the wrong result legally, it must be that I secretly want sodomy to be illegal, or at the very least don’t care.  Or when I am troubled by government intervening in the Chrysler bankruptcy process, it’s because I hate unions.  And of course, when I am against post-hoc legal judgments against bankers or their bonuses, it’s just because I’m an apologist for rich people.

      But to a libertarian, process matters.  Having a good process is better than getting a good outcome, because a good process is one that maximizes your chances of getting good outcomes over time. “

      • “…Am I supposed to appreciate Government telling me I am somehow different, or less worthy, because of who I vote for?…”

        This is a ridiculous assertion. You’re simply playing sore because your “party” can’t convince one person in a thousand that they should be taken seriously.

        The bar is set very low. If the Greens are getting the vote subsidy, then clearly it doesn’t take much to get there.

        Meanwhile, you have your incredibly powerful donation subsidy to help you sleep at night, since it has already been shown repeatedly that the value of a direct donation from a single voter is hundreds of times more influencial than the money that comes from vote subsidies.

        So avail yourself of this powerful option and stop whining about the $2.75 already.