Election Financing

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Chester Drawers
Election Financing

Should the government continue with the $1.75 per vote subsidy?  Or should all political financing come from the party supporters?

 I think that the subsidy should be dropped.  Only donations from party supporters, actual voters, should be allowed.

kropotkin1951

Chester Drawers wrote:

Should the government continue with the $1.75 per vote subsidy?  Or should all political financing come from the party supporters?

 I think that the subsidy should be dropped.  Only donations from party supporters, actual voters, should be allowed.

LOL I can tell from your suggestion that you will do anything to see the Liberals disappear. Yes we should immediately change the election financing to give the Con/Reform party a distinct advantage over every other party. Get out those mined lists from all the fundamentalist churches. Yup that's the best measure of democracy.

___________________________________________________________________________________________ From North of Manifest Destiny

remind remind's picture

Election financing should stay the way it is. And there isn't anyway the Cons can change it with a minority government, so nah nah nah. I echo kropotkin.

 Moreover, if you think the Cons are going to become the naturla governing party and things will remain status quo with their financiing you would be sadly mistaken.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

johnpauljones

I say keep it the way it is. The Libs created the mess by bringing in a change of rules that was created to keep them in power and rich. The Canadian people woke up to the ills of the liars party. Now they will do the same to the cons.

 

The libs cant fundraise because they never tried to get money from the average joe and jane.

Chester Drawers

 This is not about  stopping a political party, but making the parties more accountable to their supporters and voters.  Why can't the Liberals fund raise, they have lost touch with the commoner.  Why do the conservatives have 140,000 plus contributors annually that give an average of $115, they listen to their supporters the commoner.

 Why should government/taxpayers subsidize political parties?  The party supporters should finance them.  Only the actual voters should contribute within clearly defined limits.

Political party financing with my taxes is not an essential service that the government should fund, this money should be spent on education, healthcare or the like.  Just as providing corporate welfare/grants directly to individual companies is not in the best interests of the citizens. 

I think that there are many like me that dislike the thought that their tax dollars go to support a political party they have no affiliation with.  I most likely can say that those that have commented so far do not like the fact that their hard earn moneis go to subsidize the Conservatives.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

  Chester your tax dollars aren't supporting other parties. You see when the monkeys in the money sorting house,  sort out your money they take a whole 1.75 and put into right into the Cons slot just like when they sort through my loonies they stick it in the respective slot of the party I support. So no worries. You see I don't particularly like a portion of my money going to the Cons, so it works out perfect. Our respective desires  even each other out.  

 

madmax

While all parties benefit from the $1.95 I do not support it. I don't believe that political parties are in need of money as much as our health care system, or social services.

People can donate their money or time to a political party. 

Giving more money to the CPC just so they can have a huge war chest to thump the LPC with prior to the election cycle is a waste of tax money.

Why should a party like the LPC, which has governed Canada for the majority of its existance as a country, be inline for a handout. 

I also don't consider funding of political parties and essential service. Parties have managed to survive without the handout for over 100 years. 

The CCF existed long before this form of political welfare existed, and so did the NDP.

I wonder if the GP would exist or run those paper candidates in ridings as a source of revenue generation if it wasn't for the handout?  

This isn't about democracy. Those fringe parties, who people have the right to vote for, and independants, receive..... nothing. Therefore their vote is worth even less. It could well be considered a violation of political rights. It certainly isn't fair. To think we would give Separtists Millions of dollars that they can't raise on their own is rediculous. To think that we won't give Liberatarians are CAP monies for votes highlights that we support political welfare for separation but not for minority parties unable to get their voice out.

There is a reason for that. If over 1 million people voted for the BQ before giving them Millions of dollars, there is no reason to give the BQ money today.

And if people aren't mobilized or care enough to donate or vote for the CAP we seem quite happy in not letting them belly up to the trough.

Nearly half the public doesn't vote. Why should their tax money go to political parties of which none they support? Why should a tax paying CAP, Communist or Progressive, have their money giving to the Liberals, CPC, NDP?

A political party which cannot raise its own funds should recognise their state of affairs and rectify rather then rely on the public purse to fund their campaigns.

IMHO. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chester Drawers

Well said Madmax.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Excelent post Max.

Mojoroad1

Nope.... Best thing Chretien did as PM. That it screwed the Liberals is ironic, and that they have failed to adapt is a different thread. However what it did was prevent direct corporate & union influence ....during an election at least, eliminating all the expected payback that comes with those strings.

Even advocates of PR recognize that there has to be some cut off level before there is representation, thus the argument Madmax puts forward is a bit of a strawman. Like it or not the BQ has a critical mass of support, as do all of the major parties (including the so called Greens, sort of).

Is it perfect? No of course not. But by limiting the support of  lobbyists/corporations/unions in an election is limiting the "quid pro quo" effect that has corrupted the US system for example extremely effectively. The U.S experience led to them actually passing public funding laws. Of course,  they are (purposefully?) completely inadequate in a two party system where campaigns begin YEARS in advance....and cost BILLIONS. Hence corporate/lobbyist interests began to be more important than ever....

That is, until Obama showed up and relied almost exclusively on individual donations. 

As for political parties "rectifing (sic) their state of affairs", that is quite true. If and when they do, they qualify for public funding. Seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

KenS

Pragmatically speaking: the limits on donation size and where they can come from brought in by Chretien are great, and he never could have done it without the counterbalance of the per vote public funding. Without that, the Liberals would have been too disadvantaged even for Chretien.

 The spending limits along with the public funding create a pretty effective firewall against lobbyists buying legislators or parties.

kropotkin1951

 http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/11/reality-check-ob...

 [quote]Turns out that only about a quarter of Obama's campaign contributions came from small donors, those giving $200 or less. That's about the same as George W. Bush in 2004.

That's because a further study of Obama's donations shows that while he had lots of small donations, many of those donors gave several times. And FEC records show that a sizeable number of these repeat donors gave acumulative amount totaling much more than $200 -- sometimes $1,000 or more. In fact, nearly half of Obama's money came from donors giving $1,000 or more. [quote]

The Obama myth grows even before he takes office. I worry for him because the higher the pedastel the farther the fall.

I would like to see very low campaign spending limits and free air time on radio and television for all parties running candidates in the majority of ridings in a province.  I would also like to see travel limits in kilometres placed on all candidates including the leaders with may be the leaders getting a 15,000 km limit and other candidates getting 5,000 km. That would help lower the carbon footprint. The media would also of course not be flitting about like their was no climate change crisis.

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________From North of Manifest Destiny

Cueball Cueball's picture

I really don't see how any system which pays for the operating expenses of the political organs can be described as anything other than a "one party" state, especially when it overtly excludes some other political organizations from the trough. Cleverly concealing this fact behind elections every four years does nothing to alter the fact that if such a state of affairs existed in Cuba, the oppositional charactheristics between the factions would be considered "notional", at best.

Jacob Richter

madmax wrote:

While all parties benefit from the $1.95 I do not support it. I don't believe that political parties are in need of money as much as our health care system, or social services.

People can donate their money or time to a political party. 

Giving more money to the CPC just so they can have a huge war chest to thump the LPC with prior to the election cycle is a waste of tax money.

Why should a party like the LPC, which has governed Canada for the majority of its existance as a country, be inline for a handout. 

I also don't consider funding of political parties and essential service. Parties have managed to survive without the handout for over 100 years. 

The CCF existed long before this form of political welfare existed, and so did the NDP.

I wonder if the GP would exist or run those paper candidates in ridings as a source of revenue generation if it wasn't for the handout?  

This isn't about democracy. Those fringe parties, who people have the right to vote for, and independants, receive..... nothing. Therefore their vote is worth even less. It could well be considered a violation of political rights. It certainly isn't fair. To think we would give Separtists Millions of dollars that they can't raise on their own is rediculous. To think that we won't give Liberatarians are CAP monies for votes highlights that we support political welfare for separation but not for minority parties unable to get their voice out.

There is a reason for that. If over 1 million people voted for the BQ before giving them Millions of dollars, there is no reason to give the BQ money today.

And if people aren't mobilized or care enough to donate or vote for the CAP we seem quite happy in not letting them belly up to the trough.

Nearly half the public doesn't vote. Why should their tax money go to political parties of which none they support? Why should a tax paying CAP, Communist or Progressive, have their money giving to the Liberals, CPC, NDP?

A political party which cannot raise its own funds should recognise their state of affairs and rectify rather then rely on the public purse to fund their campaigns.

IMHO. 

 

In addition to this, I would like to add that parties in general, especially worker parties, should NOT be dependent on a state that is naturally not worker-friendly. :)

Chester Drawers

Bob Fyfe on Mike Duffy Live scooped that the Tories are going to eliminate the $1.95 per vote subsidy to the political parties in tomorrows economic update.

It will be interesting to see how the Liberals spin this.

madmax

Rumour had it that this might be coming down the pipes. If it does come, the question is, how soon?

 And will it be justifyable if political parties were counting on these monies prior to the election.

 The CPC should have campaigned on it. I believe the CPC are doing this to totally screw up the other parties, rather then the concerns for the electorate.

Will see if this comes to pass or where it goes from here.

 

 

ottawaobserver

Well, it does feel a little too calculated, but on the bright side it might finally get the Green Party some coverage this week.  ;-)

ocsi

madmax wrote:

Rumour had it that this might be coming down the pipes. If it does come, the question is, how soon?

Tomorrow? 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081126.wfiscal1126/...

Wilf Day

The best thing Chretien ever did, his parting shot for democracy, was the campaign finance reform. Limiting donations and adding public financing were two sides of the same coin. Making the financing proportional to the votes, not to the seats won, was a vital element and an important precedent.

If the Conservatives propose repealing it tomorrow this will be pure grandstanding, since they know it would never pass.

 

 

janfromthebruce

When looking at which party would suffer the most here is the most to the least: Bloc (86% of their total revenue), Greens (65% of their total revenue), Liberals (63% of their total revenue), NDP (57% of their total revenue), and Cons (37% of their total revenue).

What this will do is ensure no opposition party will vote down this govt as not one would be able to afford an election for years - this is like a confidence vote forever. 

I really think that the liberals need to rethink there go it alone strategy here, and reconsider bringing with govt down with the strategy of forming a coalition govt with the NDP and Bloc. The Bloc might just go for it as their money life line is about to be cut.

Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

David Young

I just heard on a news broadcast that one of the commentators thinks that tomorrow, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will announce as part of his belt-tightening measures around government spending the cancellation of the funding plan for political parties.

Watch the fireworks if that one turns out to be accurate!

KenS

Maybe part of the grandstanding would be to set up a situation where the government can say the only time the Liberals ever voted against us was when we ....

KenS

The Post is saying the gov is 'sure to make this a confidence vote'. Who knows what basis they have for saying this. But if its true things get curiouser.

ottawaobserver

Well, Ken, I'm not sure if reducing spending entails automatic confidence, the way spending does.  It's probably just that reporters can only imagine political strategies they've already seen in action, or that are spun to them.  I think the government dropped the bomb now to hit the evening news, and make the opposition parties look self-interested.  I also think they run the danger of looking too partisan themselves at a time of crisis.  It sounds like they poll-tested this one and focus-grouped it, and think they're on solid ground, but sometimes things go off in a different direction.

I have to say I *do* find it very strange that a couple of folks have popped up here a few days before the rumour surfaced elsewhere, just to run the idea up the flag.  I suspect we've occasionally had a few Conservative Caucus research officers posting questions here to see what kinds of answers to anticipate while they prepare their Q's and A's.

ottawaobserver

Just as a sidebar, I just saw Elizabeth May on the National ... she was quoted defending the Liberal Party against Conservative attacks, rather than the Green Party.  Natch.

Aristotleded24

Wilf Day wrote:

The best thing Chretien ever did, his parting shot for democracy, was the campaign finance reform. Limiting donations and adding public financing were two sides of the same coin. Making the financing proportional to the votes, not to the seats won, was a vital element and an important precedent.

Does that mean that the caps on big donations will be scrapped along with the public subsidy?

ottawaobserver

You're not thinking like a Conservative, Ari.  First, they'll try and scrap the subsidy.  Then, once that produces the result they expect (i.e., hurt the Libs and cause some of their last leadership candidates into bankruptcy or selling their houses), then they plan to scrap the cap.  And, as we've already seen, Dion doesn't have many moves in his strategic repertoire.

KenS

ottawaobserver wrote:

I have to say I *do* find it very strange that a couple of folks have popped up here a few days before the rumour surfaced elsewhere, just to run the idea up the flag.  I suspect we've occasionally had a few Conservative Caucus research officers posting questions here to see what kinds of answers to anticipate while they prepare their Q's and A's.

Yes, the chance of coincidence is nearly zero. But really just an amusing sideshow. We can hope the control freaks in their caucus are surprised and not pleased with them.

All it has to do is be part of the money bill and it is a confidence vote- unless there is some cutsey little manouver that it is in a seperate bill or something like that.

Whatever the end game with it- they are at a minimum lying and talking out of both sides of the mouth in saying they want a more cooperative atmosphere. What is the first thing they do- say forget stimulus until spring... and here's a little something to get everyone distracted.

But as to where the distraction leads... I'm waiting to see if this is part of the confidence vote package. Because if it is, I don't get it. The only thing that makes sense with that is some incredible brinksmanship.

IE: "We cannot be sure what the GG will do, but if she calls on Dion to form government, let them try to govern this mess in their state: 6 months later we'll trounce them when their government falls."

Maybe we could get some helpful hints from Chester Drawers?

KenS

I don't think this substantive point is going to matter in the kerfuffle over this, but for what its worth:

Had the legislation changing public financing NOT brought in public subsidies with the ending of corporate and union donations, the NDP would have been scrambling, but better off than the other parties. And as it has turned out- the NDPs improved finances has more to do with better fundraising than with the subsidies.

BUT, taking the subsidies out of the picture now would wreck havoc. It would even cause a huge amount of turmoil with the Conservative Party. But they just happen to be the only party with a huge cash cushion to absorb the shock, and the organizational means to throw even more into raising more money.

KenS

We'll soon enough know, but it occurs to me that maybe the government can just remove the public subsidies by decree.

They drastically lowered the donation cap by decree. But I didn't think they could remove the subsidies without legislation.

Well, maybe it can be done. And in all the protests I've not heard anyone say they cannot, or talk about a vote in the House.

If this is the score, then its another clever hardball move. Double play: a substantive blow to the opposition parties that is particularly deadly to the Liberals, and a good distraction from the Conservatives insistence of no stimulus now that they know will not be reassurring to the slice of voters they are constantly courting.

And for what its worth: I think they'll have no problem getting away with it in the court of public opinion. The only counter-argument to the popularity of cutting off political parties from the dole is the kind of indirect argument that never has traction except among those who would never vote for them anyway.

"So maybe it does disadvantage the other parties. Isn't that what politics is all about anyway? Good for them that they are the only ones who won't be hurt being cut off from the dole."

KenS

ottawaobserver wrote:
Once [scrapping the subsidy] produces the result they expect (i.e., hurt the Libs and cause some of their last leadership candidates into bankruptcy or selling their houses...

Not that the 'mechanical details' of how the Liberals will be severely harmed, but this isn't how it will work. And the predicatble conswquences are more insidious.

The new leadership campaigns will not be effected. And continual problems with Election Canada are the most likely worst case for the old candidates: they can get the money if the donor limits go out the window.... and one way or another they will eventually get the dispensation to do that.

The insidious consequence is precisely that with the Liberals were already in very bad shape with the subsidies continuing to come. Without the subsidies, the situation becomes desperate.

Which means they would desperatelty to ASAP replace those lost subsidies with a very substantial increase in donations... and just at the time when only the leadership campaigns have the organization energy to be pursuing more donations.

 

 

While this would not throw the NDP into complete dissaray, it would still mean everyone including Layton spending more time on organizational issues.

ottawaobserver

KenS wrote:

We'll soon enough know, but it occurs to me that maybe the government can just remove the public subsidies by decree.

They drastically lowered the donation cap by decree. But I didn't think they could remove the subsidies without legislation.

Well, maybe it can be done. And in all the protests I've not heard anyone say they cannot, or talk about a vote in the House.

Hear about a vote in the House?  I did ... (don't ask me to locate the source right now, but I read that they would be tabling legislation to that effect).  And the reduction in the donation cap was part of the "Accountability Act", so it was legislated, not passed by Order-in-Council.

The subsidies were put into effect by legislated amendments to the Elections Act, and started on January 1, 2004.  Revoking them, so far as I know, would not necessarily be a confidence bill ... since I think only bills to spend new money are "money bills", not bills to stop spending money.  However, we'd have to hear from a procedural expert on that one.

It is interesting to note that the move is not getting support from all the usual quarters.  From a blog-post written by John Ivison of the National Post last night (emphasis mine):

Quote:
{Flaherty} is unlikely to get a rousing reception from opposition parties who will no doubt feel the Conservatives have been vindictive in the extreme on the public financing issue.

The rhetoric from the government side this week has focused on “leadership by example” and the sense that government can’t be a safe haven in times of economic crisis.

But such noble sentiments look specious now we know what officials were talking about. This isn’t self-flagellation, it’s self-serving. Stephen Harper’s desire to geld the Liberal Party is well-known. You can sympathize with the sentiments and still wonder whether this time Mr. Harper hasn’t overstepped the mark and consigned
his opponents to join the car companies in the bailout line.

The proposal to cut public financing has been floated within the Conservative government before but dismissed as too incendiary. This time, it was obviously decided that this is too good a crisis to waste.

George Victor

DY:

I just heard on a news broadcast that one of the commentators thinks that tomorrow, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will announce as part of his belt-tightening measures around government spending the cancellation of the funding plan for political parties.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This move is right up there - in intelligence and political strategizing - with lowering of the GST, which, along with massive tax reductions,  has left them no room to achieve fiscal balance and engage in the infrastructure works that would help maintain employment and economic activity over the next couple of years.

But just the fact that they would dare float it as  meaningful economic action makes one shudder at their assumptions about the intelligence quotient of the great unwashed.  Could they be right? Is democracy in the communications age still vulnerable to  ponsi plots by the cynical bastards

whose lives are spent concocting wedge issues a la  Rove?

KenS

I've also heard several comments about a vote in the House- but not yet one from the opposition party figures protesting this. I've heard none of them say the Conservatives cannot do it, or talk about "we'll see when this comes up for a vote." Which leads me to beleive they know it can and will be just done.

ottawaobserver

The news broke at 6 PM last night ... so people were reacting quickly for news stories with tight deadlines.  It would definitely be voted on, and the government can name any vote a confidence vote that it likes.

However, if it did and all 3 opposition parties voted against it, the Financial Markets would go haywire ... and I really don't think the Conservatives are really, really, in their heart of hearts, up for that.  Because they would get blamed on Bay Street for creating all that uncertainty, not the opposition parties.

I think the opposition does in fact have a bit of room to have a show-down on this ... they just have to position themselves carefully on it so that they ensure the Conservatives' negatives are reinforced (they're big and mean and you can't trust them not to be autocratic given the chance), and that the greater priority concerns of folks who are truly hurting out there are not lost in this one particular skirmish.

madmax

ottawaobserver wrote:

I have to say I *do* find it very strange that a couple of folks have popped up here a few days before the rumour surfaced elsewhere, just to run the idea up the flag.  I suspect we've occasionally had a few Conservative Caucus research officers posting questions here to see what kinds of answers to anticipate while they prepare their Q's and A's.

I don't believe I just popped up. I also believe I have brought this up other times in other threads for months now. It is also a subject discussed in other forums.  I do believe that members of the CPC grabbed hold of a discussion, just like other parties do, and are manipulating the election finance system for their own personal gains. I doubt they would be considering this if they weren't sitting on a treasure trove of cash and the LPC in the dumper. 

The fact that Cueball and myself agreed for the first time, should attest to the openness of the discussion.  I don't know Cueball, and this could be the first time weve had an agreement on anything that I can recall.

That said, politics is timing. Political parties need to be careful how they handle this.

 

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Making this a matter of confidence is BS. Harper is being a bully - so much for trying to encourage a sense of decorum in the House.

ottawaobserver

Wasn't directed at you, though, madmax.

George Victor

 

It's all going to be a bit of a test of the intelligence quotient of the unread watchers of American sitcoms, eh? The pollsters must be very busy!

KenS

Will we ever hear from Chester Drawers again?

Caissa

The $1.95 is the only way my vote counts in the FPTP system we have.

johnpauljones

I have never been in favour of any public money going to campaigns. Keep the limits but get rid of all public funding of campaigns.

 If the libs can't raise any money tough tushy to them. The libs introduced laws to try to bankrupt the NDP and the Cons.

It seems that their great public financing rules are only hurting themselves.

janfromthebruce

 Actually, I disagree with you jpj. Chretien did it to get rid of the influence of corporations/unions/lobbyist controling govt by their donations. One of things that happen is that voting folks could at least vote for their party of choice even though they might know they will lose based on the fact that a buck ninety-five went to their favoured choice.

That's also worked to hold some vote. If this happens, there will be little in the way of stopping what is known as "strategic voting." And it will become a waste of vote.

______________________________________________________________________________________
Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

janfromthebruce

 Anyway, CityTV has a poll question up:

Quote:

 Should the government slash public funding for federal parties?

Linking to CityTV above will take you there and one can vote.

______________________________________________________________________________________
Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

madmax

Caissa wrote:
The $1.95 is the only way my vote counts in the FPTP system we have.

That is such a copout and pure nonsense.

Bring $1.95 to the campaign office, along with a tray of coffees for those who are working in it for free. 

 

madmax

janfromthebruce wrote:

 Anyway, CityTV has a poll question up:

Quote:

 Should the government slash public funding for federal parties?

Linking to CityTV above will take you there and one can vote.

______________________________________________________________________________________ Our kids live together and play together in their communities, let's have them learn together too!

Its almost 81% in favour of eliminating the funding. If political parties watch polls this is a very strong indication of the electoral mindset, regardless of whether the decision to eliminate it is right or wrong.

 

 

Stockholm

It's NOT a poll. Its a "thing". For all we know, a bunch of Tory staffers are just voting a hundred times each.

The public may very well be in favour of what the Tories are proposing - but the fact that a freepable "thing" on the City website says so - is 100% irrelevant.

Caissa

Cop out and nonsense Mad max. Do elaborate?

 

I support the current electoral funding through the public purse.

In Saint John, N.B. and NDP vote is only worth $1.95. They have no chance of winning. YMMV

Mojoroad1

I would guess there are high-level backdoor talks going on between the opposition parties right now on this one. The Star has Liberals Kennedy and McCallum very vocal and of course Anne McGrath too. This would be a non-starter for the BQ. If there is a vote - confidence - or otherwise - expect a showdown. Focus grouping by the Conservatives might have told them they could pull it off, (I posit they didn't factor in their own bias) but if even the Post is seeing this as cynical, the opposition will  play it just that way. Harpo called the election blaming "dysfunctional" parliament (never-mind the hypocrisy of that one for a moment)....& now just after announcing a new so called co-operative approach, they throw down this little Machiavellian nugget, a perfect distraction for a do nothing government who have boxed them selves into a corner. 

Interesting times indeed.... fact is, it would hit the NDP, and hard, but not as much as the BQ, the destitute LIBS and it would decimate whatever's left of the so-called Greens. I bet we'll see after 4 this aft some interesting fireworks.

Stockholm

This move would actually hurt the BQ most of anyone. They do virtually no fundraising at all and rely on the subsidy for almost NINETY PERCENT of their operating budget. Given that all the parties took out bank loans to finance their election campaigns based on an assumption that they would get this $1.95/vote subsidy - if this measure passed - it would literally cause all of the opposition parties to have to file for bankruptcy!

buffa

Should be cut even further....cut it back to $0.25 per vote! If you can't raise your own money through public support "Tough Luck" and good riddens!

Buffa

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