Towards a mature democracy - Macleans.ca

Towards a mature democracy

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John Mraz makes the case for eliminating so-called ten-percenters.

Last year, Stephen Harper proposed to eliminate the $1.95 per vote subsidy. Harper claimed the majority of Canadians did not want to pay that piper. Flush as the Conservatives were with capital, it would also have put his party at an immediate advantage, hampered other parties’ abilities to compete, and made it almost impossible for new parties to emerge. Canadians would have suffered a diminished political landscape ruled by parties that managed to find favour with the monied classes. But electoral brinksmanship ensued, and the subsidy remains.

If Harper is indeed serious about eliminating public funding for partisan purposes, he might begin by eliminating the “ten percenters.” And if the Liberals and New Democrats are serious about democratic principles, they should support him. Canadians would never even notice, nor would our political forum be weakened. In any case, all parties should desist from using the parliamentary press to political advantage. It is there to inform, not persuade.  And “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” is no principle to live by in an ethical discourse.