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If I recall correctly, one of the first parties to suggest federal funding for votes was the now defunct National Party. Since that time, the first Province to engage in giving money to political parties for votes received Quebec.
I think that Federal Funding constantly needs to be reevaluated. In a very short period of time, since it has been brought onto the Federal Scene, it has had a number of changes.
What I would like to hear is...
Why should we keep it?
I believe that if people support a political party they will contribute to it. With their money or their time. Limits have been reduced to $1100 and I don't think they need to be increased or decreased.
I have never been comfortable with the idea that political parties should be given money, because people vote for them.
Imagine a "Political Party" based upon a particular independent Candidate who received more popular vote then the Green Party Candidate.
Its not too much to consider that an extremist or fringe party can get 2% of the votes by merely running candidates in every riding.
The federal government funds a group that is unable to raise its own monies, and the group grows in strength because of the government provides the $1.95 per vote. It doesn't take long to grow a movement on the backs of the taxpayer.
Some people believe this is good for democracy.
It promotes national unity by encouraging regional parties to go national, as opposed to sticking to their region of strength. This leads to more pan Canadian dialogue. By the same measure it creates comparative financial disadvantages for strictly regional parties like the Bloc Quйbйcois and Western Bloc.
It also makes it easier for the big parties to justify trips during the campaign to places where they know they won't win any/many additional seats. This helps keep certain provinces from being excluded from the campaign because they are not "battleground" provinces.
All none eligible voting entities should not be allowed to fund poliyical parties and that should include the government.
Corporations and unions are already prevented from contributing. The government funding of vote percentage should also be dropped. Only voters and political party supporters should financially support a party. If a political party can not get its' supporters to contribute or is unable to attract financial supporters then that party should re-evaluate its' policies to make it more palletable to the electorate. The conservatives have a huge data base of small financial supporters. And I think the NDP have a pretty large group as well, the liberals would be bankrupt if it were not for the 2 bucks per vote.
Maybe that would be the way to unite the left, bankrupt the Liberals.
It promotes national unity by encouraging regional parties to go national, as opposed to sticking to their region of strength. This leads to more pan Canadian dialogue.
The BQ receives more votes in its regional block then many national parties. Infact only 3 National Parties currently exceed the BQ numbers. I do not see the BQ going National [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] .
I don't believe a $1.95 handout encourages national unity.
By the same measure it creates comparative financial disadvantages for strictly regional parties like the Bloc Quйbйcois and Western Bloc.
How does giving the BQ $2.6 Million/year that they couldn't raise on their own, create the financial disadvantage? The Western Bloc, received no funding before or after the changes to the Law. Should there movement gain enough traction, then we give them cash to perform as the BQ? Doesn't sound good to me.
It also makes it easier for the big parties to justify trips during the campaign to places where they know they won't win any/many additional seats. This helps keep certain provinces from being excluded from the campaign because they are not "battleground" provinces
What this does is give the BQ alot of money, and let Duceppe travel around ONE Province and few ridings with a treasure chest of Canadian Cash for his separatist party promotion.
I think this money is awarded to prop up the Liberals. They have difficulty raising money on their own, and much like the GP need the handout to survive as a National Party.
I am not certain why we need to give the CPC even more money then they raise from individual donations.
Political Parties have been able to run candidates and travel the country since before 1867, so I don't believe that $1.95 is the be all and end all of whether a political campaign chooses to go into a region. In the short time frame that is an election campaign, many ridings will be omitted from the National Tour. If a riding is important, for whatever reason, the national tour goes there.
I am sure the NDP likes the extra cash too, but clearly I don't believe a party is national if they only run Candidates to get that $1.95. The party becomes as phoney as the paper candidate. Which, as reports suggest, the GP were looking in Sept. for Paper Candidates to collect the $1.95 vote.
True National Parties have ran and been successful for over 100 years without a government handout.
Perhaps, the money shouldn't be based upon votes? Maybe it should be a fixed amount, and therefore if you don't travel from coast to coast, you get less. That would restrict money to the BQ.
Regardless, the Conservatives, Progressive Conservatives, Liberals, the NDP, and its predecessor CCF and two other western based regional parties ran candidates across Canada without the government money. The Reform Party, which is regional in Origin ran candidates across Canada before the changes to the elections act.
The only party which ran candidates as a strategy to get $$$ and never ran candidates across the country in every riding prior to 2004 is the GP.
Regardless, the main purpose of this post is to
See if there are more thoughts and ideas on the subject.
(Thanks to the previous posters as well.)
[ 29 October 2008: Message edited by: madmax ]
I'm inclined to weigh in on the side of adding some criteria to the funding as well.
Right now, it's based on obtaining 2% of the national vote or >5% of the seats you actually do contest. But I'd be prepared to consider whether there should be an additional criterion that the party had to run candidates in more than one province (maybe more than two, as I could see the Bloc running candidates in a couple of New Brunswick seats if pushed).
Barbara Yaffe wrote a column the other week looking at the data, and concluded that the Bloc was the party most reliant on public funding, and has been raising less of its financial requirements than before (presumably to free up fundraising room for the PQ).
If being able to travel the country to campaign is one of the rationales behind the public financing, well then perhaps we ought to expect the parties to do that.
On the other hand, I wonder if it's worth the political capital it would cost to push this through the Bloc in the House right now, right after they've received a resounding mandate. Also, I do worry about having the Conservatives be the ones to reopen the public financing legislation, as you never know what else they'll try to sneak in.
The fact is, though, that because the Bloc only runs in Quebec, they get to run a really focussed campaign and one they can afford to run based solely on the money we send them. I'm not against their right to run or to raise money themselves to do it, but if public financing is supposed to promote national unity, here is one case where it may be accomplishing the exact opposite. Although I suppose, better to channel separatist aspirations into the electoral system than into something else.
OK, I guess I'm not sure what position I really take on this question, but I'm open to being persuaded.
i putt his on another thread dealing iwth electoral reform but maybe it works here.
Something to discuss? I thought this was a good place to throw out a new governance model that does address public funding..
Appropriate funding and a Mixed Member PR system.
1. 400 constituency riding seats,100 PR seats.
2. Fixed election date-say 2nd Monday in October every three years- for first round of voting.
3. All riding candidates are required to provide a one thousand dollar deposit, $500 refundable on paperwork,plus nomination papers signed by 100 voters in the riding.
4. There is a generous tax credit system for political donations (75% of donations up to one thousand dollars per year limit?)
5. Any candidate in a riding getting more than 10% of the vote is entitled to a rebate of 60% of eligible campaign expenses.
6. To win a riding seat in this first round, you need over 50% of the vote, unlikely in most cases,especially given the PR aspects discussed below, and in most cases a run-off is held.
7. The riding run-offs, held on a fixed date, will be amongst the top two candidates and any candidate getting over 15% of the votes who wishes her name included.
8. The first round of voting for riding representatives will also determine proportional representation. For every two percent of the vote received, a party may appoint two representatives to the Parliament for one year terms. Excess goes to the party with the highest number of votes.
9. Any party getting more than 2% of the vote receives $2 a year per vote.
10. At the first session of Parliament a Prime Minister shall be elected by majority vote of the Members of Parliament. The Prime Minister shall have all the powers of a Prime Minister, including the appointment and dismissal of cabinet.
11 On a non-confidence motion succeeding, the Members of Parliament shall elect a new Prime Minister.
12. Abolish the Senate and replace the office of the Governor General with equivalent weak President office, filled by the same run-off method.-------------------------------
This system would induce a number of parties, big and small, of different beliefs and visions, to run candidates and get some appropriate recognition, including representation and opportunities for coalition building. The constituency reps would have to be acceptable to most of the communities in the riding. as would have to be the Parliament as a whole.
[ 29 October 2008: Message edited by: peterjcassidy ]
An interesting note on riding-based subsidies. If a candidate gets at least ten percent of the votes cast in a riding, that candidate qualifies for a substantial subsidy of the costs incurred in that candidate's riding campaign. Here are the numbers for how many candidates for each party qualified for this subsidy: Conservative: 290 Liberal: 270 New Democrat: 243 BQ: 71 Green: 41 Independent: 5 (Cumberland-CMV, Portneuf, Calgary NE, Edmonton-Sherwood Park, Haldimand-Norfolk)
[ 01 November 2008: Message edited by: Robo ]