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Study finds Canada's political parties need subsidy to survive

According to a study out of the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, Canada’s political parties have become more dependent on public subsidies than they ever were on the corporate and union donations the subsidy were meant to replace. In fact, the parties collect about 50 per cent more money from the government than they did before the change. Given the political hubbub that sprang from the Conservatives’ bid to cancel the subsidies last winter, it won’t go unnoticed that the new study’s authors are Tom Flanagan, a former Conservative campaign chair and one-time adviser to Stephen Harper, and his PhD student, David Coletto. Flanagan’s conclusion, that “this may not be the time to try and replace the system,” marks a significant break from the views espoused by the Conservatives, who have vowed to cancel the subsidies in the future. While Flanagan believes modifications to the $1.95 per vote subsidy—like reducing it, for instance—should be considered, he says changes should have the support of the opposition parties. “I think it’s bad policy to do any of these changes unilaterally. This is where the Liberals got us on the wrong track; the Liberals pushed through their changes.”

National Post