Harper calls for end of per-vote subsidy

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Lord Palmerston
Harper calls for end of per-vote subsidy

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Lord Palmerston

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tired-of-constant-campaigns... responses from Layton and Duceppe[/url]:

Quote:
In response to Mr. Harper's announcement, Jack Layton says the elimination of the per-vote subsidy would put politics back in the hands of the rich.

Since 2004, when the subsidy was introduced, the NDP has been prevented from receiving the large donations from unions on which it once relied.

“The question really is: Do we want to go back to the days where money, and those who can finance campaigns, determine the nature of our democracy?” Mr. Layton told reporters during a campaign stop in Sudbury. Ont.

“I don't want to go there,” he said. “I think a mixed approach that has people making contributions mixed with some public support gives us a vibrant democracy where big money doesn't have the same play.”

In recent years, frequent revelations of scandal involving allegations of fixed bids and influence peddling in Quebec demonstrate the need for public financing, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said.

Mr. Duceppe accused Mr. Harper of trying to hobble the opposition, particularly the Bloc Québécois. The Conservative leader is “not a great democrat,” Mr. Duceppe said.

“It runs against democracy. Parties trying to break through, like the Greens, would have practically no means. That guy would be happy with no opposition and no Parliament.”

Unionist

I had heard Layton's response and also thought it was very good.

Thanks for posting Duceppe's.

This will be a difficult issue for them, I think, unless they take it on very very aggressively - by telling the truth about whose interests Harper serves.

 

thorin_bane

They should ask if mr harper would end ALL public monies including the huge amount that goes to cons in the form of tax credits from donations.

6079_Smith_W

I especially like that he called him "that guy". All the respect he deserves, IMO.

ygtbk

Duceppe, as leader of an 85% federally-financed separatist party, definitely has every incentive to come out swinging.

Unionist

ygtbk wrote:

Duceppe, as leader of an 85% federally-financed separatist party, definitely has every incentive to come out swinging.

And he collects a federal salary! I think you're onto something there, ygtbk. Now all we need is some enterprising journalist to spot some Bloc members on Parliament Hill! It's got the makings of a sponsorship scandal all right.

 

6079_Smith_W

ygtbk wrote:

Duceppe, as leader of an 85% federally-financed separatist party, definitely has every incentive to come out swinging.

 

Funded based on the percentage of votes from their consiituents, whom, last time I checked paid taxes and had the right to elect and financially support  whomever they want to represent them in parliament.

On the other hand, maybe you'd prefer a sovereigntist tax revolt, if we're working on the assumption that it is all "federalist money"

That's the sort of argument I expect from that guy.... I mean our dear leader.

janfromthebruce

I thought both responses were excellent. Yeah, back to the good old days of big money and those with deep pockes ensuring that their special interest, always remains in power. WTG Jack & Gilles!

ygtbk

6079_Smith_W wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

Duceppe, as leader of an 85% federally-financed separatist party, definitely has every incentive to come out swinging.

 

Funded based on the percentage of votes from their consiituents, whom, last time I checked paid taxes and had the right to elect and financially support  whomever they want to represent them in parliament.

On the other hand, maybe you'd prefer a sovereigntist tax revolt, if we're working on the assumption that it is all "federalist money"

That's the sort of argument I expect from that guy.... I mean our dear leader.

I don't have an issue with Bloc MP's being funded by their constituents. But I'd really be surprised to see a sovereigntist tax revolt, given the way that equalization works.

My point (which I'm sure that both you and Unionist understand) is that this is not an issue where Duceppe has any credibility - his party gets the most relative benefit from the per vote subsidy, so obviously he'll defend it. This is independent of any actual merits of the scheme and makes him look self-interested at best.

6079_Smith_W

I disagree, and I'm not sure what you mean. Whether he benefits or not is a separate issue from whether it is a good sytem or not. 

And they receive their share according to the votes they received, just like everyone else (which would mean the Conservatives got the most, no?) And while the money may be administered by the federal government it is taxpayers money - federalist AND sovereigntist taxpayers. 

 

 

ygtbk

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I disagree, and I'm not sure what you mean. Whether he benefits or not is a separate issue from whether it is a good sytem or not. 

And they receive their share according to the votes they received, just like everyone else (which would mean the Conservatives got the most, no?) And while the money may be administered by the federal government it is taxpayers money - federalist AND sovereigntist taxpayers. 

 

 

My point is that Layton can make the case more effectively than either Duceppe or Ignatieff, since the NDP has done a relatively better job of weaning itself from union donations than the Liberals have of weaning themselves from corporate donations, and since the Bloc is mostly funded by the federal government. And that does not play well in the ROC, regardless of how it plays in Quebec.

Fidel

And the NDP has tried hard to lobby our corrupt stooges into fullfilling their obligations to the [url=http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/index.html]United Nations Convention against Corruption[/url] and other international standards for federal Government.

It's all been in vain though. Our stooges are having none of the NDP's talk about de-corrupting the system.

Lachine Scot

ygtbk wrote:

My point (which I'm sure that both you and Unionist understand) is that this is not an issue where Duceppe has any credibility - his party gets the most relative benefit from the per vote subsidy, so obviously he'll defend it. This is independent of any actual merits of the scheme and makes him look self-interested at best.

OK, but people who are the ones being burned are usually the first ones to cry out, no?  Does it make sense to support an attack on democracy on some sort of principle that only disinterested parties have the right to complain?

I think this is the way Harper has successfully been spinning it as well, like "Oh of course they'll complain, they desperately need that money, but no one else is complaining, so lets cut 'em off..."  I'm not saying that you're coming from the same place as Harper, this is certainly an easy way to attack their reaction, but like the other posters said we have to look at this bigger picture of what system is the fairest for party funding.

KenS

Its actually not a difficult issue for anybody.

Layton and Duceppe's replies play to their bases, like Harper's poke plays to his. In all cases the positioning is unlikely to matter one way or another with voters who are in play.

ygtbk

Lachine Scot wrote:

ygtbk wrote:

My point (which I'm sure that both you and Unionist understand) is that this is not an issue where Duceppe has any credibility - his party gets the most relative benefit from the per vote subsidy, so obviously he'll defend it. This is independent of any actual merits of the scheme and makes him look self-interested at best.

OK, but people who are the ones being burned are usually the first ones to cry out, no?  Does it make sense to support an attack on democracy on some sort of principle that only disinterested parties have the right to complain?

I think this is the way Harper has successfully been spinning it as well, like "Oh of course they'll complain, they desperately need that money, but no one else is complaining, so lets cut 'em off..."  I'm not saying that you're coming from the same place as Harper, this is certainly an easy way to attack their reaction, but like the other posters said we have to look at this bigger picture of what system is the fairest for party funding.

This is a thoughtful response. However, the idea that something that Jean Chretien thought up in 2003 in response to AdScam is fundamental to democracy is not very convincing.

ilha formosa

These two GM articles need a little threshing out.

Quote:

The per-vote subsidy: Political welfare or the great leveller? But common sense indicates that those who will get a big chunk of the money back at tax time, and miss it less in the meantime, will be more likely to donate,

Analysis: Fears about scrapping per-vote subsidies wildly off target Given current donation patterns, the higher the limit is, the better the Liberal Party will fare. The clear Conservative edge in raising funds from small donors would shrink accordingly. So, Mr. Harper can be counted on to avoid introducing big money into Canadian politics - if only because it preserves the big fundraising advantage of the Conservative Party.

Relative to other parties, more people with disposable income donate to the Conservatives. People with little to gain from tax credits/deductions, and food to put on the table, aren't likely to donate.

Could the Cons bring in corporate donations again, on top of scrapping the vote subsidy?

6079_Smith_W

I should think green supporters and those who vote for smaller parties might take it very seriously.

And who thought it up in response to what doesn't discredit the argument anymore than the fact that it might be made by someone who benefits from it (and that would be ALL politicians). Never voted for the man, but even I can think of one or two good decisions Jean Chretien made in his tenure.

I think it is a good idea, and given that our taxes already go to hold the election I think using a proportiional system to lend a bit of financial to offset those with deep pockets is a good idea.

 

ilha formosa

ygtbk wrote:

the idea that something that Jean Chretien thought up in 2003 in response to AdScam is fundamental to democracy is not very convincing.

I would think also that the Liberals were counting on always receiving a disproportionate share of strategic votes from both the left and right.

Unionist

ygtbk wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I disagree, and I'm not sure what you mean. Whether he benefits or not is a separate issue from whether it is a good sytem or not. 

And they receive their share according to the votes they received, just like everyone else (which would mean the Conservatives got the most, no?) And while the money may be administered by the federal government it is taxpayers money - federalist AND sovereigntist taxpayers. 

 

 

My point is that Layton can make the case more effectively than either Duceppe or Ignatieff, since the NDP has done a relatively better job of weaning itself from union donations than the Liberals have of weaning themselves from corporate donations, and since the Bloc is mostly funded by the federal government. And that does not play well in the ROC, regardless of how it plays in Quebec.

Hey 6079, it's actually possible that ygbtk doesn't get it. I thought I'd make a little joke about Duceppe being on a "federal" salary and Bloc members being spotted on Parliament Hill, but ygbtk still seem to think that there's something odd about elected representatives being treated equally under the campaign contribution law even though they don't think much of federalism.

This is a mantra we expect to hear from Harper as he pursues his aim of putting financing back in the hands of the oil barons. I didn't expect to hear it here.

 

6079_Smith_W

@ Unionist

Plus I think the only time the opposition leaders go into a back room to divvy up who is going to do what is at budget time.

Deciding who will come off best delivering the message? Don't think so.

 

ygtbk

@ Unionist: I did in fact get your little joke. 

I haven't seen anyone advocating an increase in the individual contribution limit, or a return to federal corporate donations, so I don't think that "putting financing back in the hands of the oil barons" is a good description of anyone's position.

More generally, the per vote funding formula could be modified or reduced, rather than eliminated, and Duff Conacher has a modest proposal over at www.dwatch.ca

Unionist

ygtbk wrote:

I haven't seen anyone advocating an increase in the individual contribution limit, or a return to federal corporate donations, so I don't think that "putting financing back in the hands of the oil barons" is a good description of anyone's position.

[edited]

That's true - no one is advocating that.

 

flatustheflower

http://rabble.ca/comment/1236510/p-margin-bottom-008in

It really Boils Down to A Vote For the Greens is inadvertently a vote for the Conservatives,
remember the party's Percentages in the running, splitting up the opposition toward the
Conservatives in the first past the peg electoral system operating this May 2011 Election.
Ultimately will result in the the demise of Democracy as Canada knew it.

simonvallee

Subsidies per vote is an excellent idea that should be upheld. If parties are to lose subsidies, it should be the canceling of the tax credit that goes with political donations.

The public subsidies help the parties be more independent of private donations, which makes corruption less likely because the parties don't need to seek rich patrons to get funded. It also means that parties are better off trying to appeal to the majority of people, mostly moderates, instead of having to galvanize a militant base that wants to drag the party in a more radical direction.

So the vote subsidy is a barrier against corruption and against the radicalization of parties. It must survive for the sake of democracy.

Sean in Ottawa

Sorry to be contrary since everyone seems to like Layton and Duceppe's responses-- I thought they were both weak and poor.

Both of them allowed Harper away with setting the terms for the discussion and failed to call Harper out on a lie.

Harper said he was ending public financing of political parties because people should not have to pay for someone else's choice.

The correct response would have been to say that:

Harper is not proposing to remove public finance at all since we have a 75% subsidy for political donations being done through taxes. In other words one guy gives $25 to support his choice and the rest of the tax payers have to pony up a further $75 to support that person's choice. The per person subsidy is equal to all Canadians who vote regardless of their finances rather than tilting all the money to the people with the money to donate. At a time when barely over half of Canadians vote voting is an activity that ought to be rewarded the buying of disproportionate influence with other people's money is not. If you truly believe that having to support another person's choice is offensive then the per vote subsidy is the better of the two public finance options. The PM is lying when he says he is removing public financing of political parties if he is leaving that three-to-one tax credit subsidy. The PM is saying only the opinions of people who have money should be considered and ordinary voters should not.

This should be an issue the opposition could win on but timid responses and those that miss the point like these are helping Harper. Harper is turning Canadians against the public finance of political parties pretending that he is proposing to eliminate it and the opposition is fighting on that lie rather than pointing out that it is a lie. The climate right now is if the opposition fights this issue on Harper's ground they will lose-- only when they point out that all parties are proposing some kind of public finance will we be able to ask which is the best form of public finance, the fairest etc. Phrased like a debate over the elimination of public finance, the democracy arguments will lose. When people realize that everyone is supporting some kind of public finance, they could win -- perhaps easily.

I am frustrated by the less than great communications from all the opposition parties in the last while.

Nobody called Harper on his lie about the BQ being in the coalition -- the theoretical arguments about coalitions being good or not have nothing to do with where the voters are-- they are afraid of the BQ in government.  The opposition should have taken out an ad paid for together saying Harper was lying. That would have put the issue to bed-- instead they debated about whether or not he was hypocritical since he also had explored coalition. Useful, but not the only thing they should have done. You want to defeat Harper-- brand him a liar-- call all the lies.

This month the opposition has to have better than second-rate communications and I'm afraid to say they are falling down -- all of them -- on understanding what the issue is in the public mind while they fight the specific words of the government.

All of them should start with a realization that the Cons are running a highly emotional campaign that is designed to appeal to people's hearts, dreams, fears (especially), pride etc. They cannot win trying to counter this with logic-- they need to break down what the Cons are selling emotionally and counter that rather than fight what is really minutia. And if they got all that -- they would realize this is an election that should have been thought on ethics not policies-- it is truly remarkable how the opposition is going to the wrong communications strategies-- all of them.

thorin_bane

Exactly seans and I have been harping on this for 2 years.

ygtbk

So if someone said, straight up, that they wanted to modify the per-vote subsidy formula (a la Duff Conacher's suggestions, for example), would that be a legitimate topic of discussion? Or would that be somehow misleading? 

thorin_bane

I want the donation subsidy gone. That is the subsidy that asks people who don't even vote to forfeit their taxes to an election they don't believe in or want. If we are being honest about it.

Frmrsldr

thorin_bane wrote:

I want the donation subsidy gone. That is the subsidy that asks people who don't even vote to forfeit their taxes to an election they don't believe in or want. If we are being honest about it.

What people who don't vote fail to see is that they are disempowering themselves.

Imagine what would happen if all those eligible to vote, but who don't, voted - and they all voted for the NDP or Marxist Party of Canada or for the Greens or whatever party most closely matches their political and/or ethical/moral values.

Whenever I hear someone who didn't vote bitch about the way things are, I ask them what they are doing to change things.

Not voting is a fatalistic self-fulfilling prophesy.

Sean in Ottawa

Could be discussed-- although I don't like the proposal either to weaken the per vote subsidy or to punish the BQ by giving them less simply because they operate in one province only. The latter would be both unfair and provocative-- why should someone in Quebec have less value to their vote than me?

Why not reduce the public finance by reducing either the percentage or amount of the tax credit?

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

The elimination of the per vote subsidy, in and of itself, does not constitute reintroducing big money to Canadian politics.  Raising or eliminating the maximum donation would bring back big money, as would bringing back corporate / union donations.

Depsite the paranoia, I doubt Harper et al have much interest in that.  The greatest beneficiary of those changes would be the Liberal Party - and I don't see why Harper would suddenly want to help the Liberals.

In fact, the eleimation of the per vote subsidy combined with a further reduction in the maximum donation migh actually rpove the greatest leveller of all.

ygtbk

I swear I do not have a mole in the Star editorial board:

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/968989--politica...

ygtbk

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Could be discussed-- although I don't like the proposal either to weaken the per vote subsidy or to punish the BQ by giving them less simply because they operate in one province only. The latter would be both unfair and provocative-- why should someone in Quebec have less value to their vote than me?

Why not reduce the public finance by reducing either the percentage or amount of the tax credit?

I agree with reducing the percentage. It's incomprehensible to me that political donations get a relatively larger tax credit than charitable donations.

KenS

A very likely reason: because people are less likely to give to political parties.

Not to mention that the percentage is only greater for the smallest donations- where we do want to encourage people the most. Without sitting down to do the math, I'd say that well before you hit $1,000 annual donation, the charitable donation is netting a grater percentage than the political donation.

ygtbk

KenS wrote:

A very likely reason: because people are less likely to give to political parties.

Not to mention that the percentage is only greater for the smallest donations- where we do want to encourage people the most. Without sitting down to do the math, I'd say that well before you hit $1,000 annual donation, the charitable donation is netting a grater percentage than the political donation.

KenS, if the information at this site is correct then a $1,000 political contribution gets a tax credit of $558:

http://www.taxtips.ca/filing/politicalcontributions.htm

So you've got the right order of magnitude although the political contribution wins by a bit.

The bigger question is why people don't want to give money to political parties. If everyone gave their favourite party one toonie per year, we likely wouldn't need this thread.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

I think that on tax forms any taxpayer should be able to choose to send their share to any registered party.  By their share I mean looking at what our 3 for 1 system costs all taxpayers and divvying that up to the parties based on their percentage of number of taxpayers who chose to support a party.  Of course like now no citizen would be required to state a preference but any who wish to donate money currently divulge that info so that would not really change.

We have a large percentage of our working people whose incomes are so low their deductions are greater than their taxes and so they never get a chance to have other taxpayers support their political choices.  It would be far fairer if not only middle and upper class citizens had an opportunity to have their political views subsidized.  It might also engage some of those people in the democratic process as they look at all the possible choices they actually have and realize that they could help promote a smaller party that needs funds to talk to voters about a message meant to promote their interests.

Snert Snert's picture

I'd like to see a simple system wherein any registered political party receives from the government (ie: the taxpayer) $5000 per candidate, with the understanding that any candidate who fails to receive at least 2% of the popular vote in their riding must refund the money (to prevent paper candidates, dead people running, candidates "campaigning" for an hour and then dropping out, etc.)  Beyond that, no $$ contributions, though volunteering would be encouraged (and, probably, necessary).

Totally level playing field, so no more complaints from the little guys.  And no more giant buses painted up like a carnival roadshow, and no more long winded television attack ads with their comically ominous music...  maybe some flyers, and some door-to-door campaigning and some candidates actually engaging with voters.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Good idea for funding campaigns but parties need money all the time to do the outreach required to engage voters.  The money per vote scheme is designed to give money to parties for that work and I don't think your campaign idea would.  

I would also like to see our public air waves ordered to run a set number of ads at no cost to the parties.  It is disgusting the amount of taxpayer money going from subsidized parties into the MSM to pay for the biased coverage they provide.  Give them a tax break if they whine too loud about having to provide this public service to our democracy.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

There are a number of ways to approach this.  However, conflating the issue of the per vote subsidy with the issue of contribution limits is not helpful.  Neither is conflating it with the tax credit.

The key part of the Chretien reforms is the donor limit, not the grant.  The grant was only added to soften the blow for the Liberal Party.

The tax credit, while it doesn't help the very poorest, does make it possible for people of modest means to offer far more financial support for their party of choice.  The wealthiest can donate the maximum, tax credit or no tax credit.

I would support the elimination of the per vote subsidy combined with a further reduction in the donor maximum.  I'd be game to look at tweaks to the tax credit as part of that.

 

ygtbk
Sean in Ottawa

I do like the per vote subsidy in part as it is an incentive to vote. I also like the fact that it is affordable to everyone-- not sure where Malcom is defining modest means but the tax credit is absolutely useless for everyone earning less than the basic credits and that is a lot of people including a lot of young people. Some of those people could vote and have a little bit of money back up their preference.

I don't get the argument of conflation either-- this is all about considering the alternatives of public finance. The other forms of public finance should all be on the table when any one of them is discussed.

A thought I just had now though-- Some here have made the point that the per vote should be kept and the tax credit scrapped. There is a good reason not to do that. There are hundreds of thousands of people who pay taxes and cannot vote-- they are landed immigrants. Those people can only be heard through political donations. For this reason alone, now that I have thought about it, the tax credit must be kept.

I have no trouble with the existing system of finance.

That said I would reduce the amount of advertising they can spend. Increase the amount they must put to research and require that they answer detailed questions on platforms and substance in a timely fashion in order to get any financing at all.

The media should be required to carry substantial coverage of platforms and substance (and there are mechanisms to enforce this similar to the free time broadcasts of old).

 

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

The argument about conflation is pretty simple.  The tax credit and the per vote grant are separate issues.  The per vote grant and the donation limits are separate issues.

The arguments presented here conflate the end of the per vote grant with the removal of donor limits.  These are two separate issues.  It actually is possible for a government to end the per vote grant without eliminating the donor limit - and given that the Harper Conservatives actually LOWERED the donor limit, there is at least some reason to believe that they are prepared to leave the limits intact.  And even if they try to raise or eliminate the limit, it's still a separate issue.

Since the vast majority of Canadians actually do pay income tax, that means that there are a hell of a lot of people of modest means who can benefit from the political donation tax credit.  The fact that there are some whose income is too low does NOT mean that is only benefits the rich.  Conflation again, Sean.   (Now, an alternative way to address your legitimate issue re the political donation tax credit would be to make it - or at least part of it - a refundable tax credit.)

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

KenS wrote:

A very likely reason: because people are less likely to give to political parties.

Not to mention that the percentage is only greater for the smallest donations- where we do want to encourage people the most. Without sitting down to do the math, I'd say that well before you hit $1,000 annual donation, the charitable donation is netting a grater percentage than the political donation.

Well Ken, you would be  just plain wrong. Let's crunch the numbers:

Political donation tax credit (up to $1,100) [first figure is amount of donation, second figure % you are credited for, final dollar value of that credit] -- and please note this is just for the federal donations:

First $400              75%                              $300.00

Next $350              50%                              $175.00

Next $350            33.3%                             $116.70  / *$83.30

Total credit for $1,100 donation              $591.70 /  *$558.30

 

Charitable donation tax credit (figured for $1,000 - cause I found a handy table that already broke it down)

                                                                     2010 Donation Tax Credit Rates

                                                                                                             $ value
                                                                                                          (combined
                        % rate                 % rate              $ value            fed + prov)
                          first                  any amount        of credit          of credit
                          $200                  over $200         @$1,000           @$1,000

 

Federal             15.00%            29.00%            $262.00

AB                    10.00%            21.00%             188.00         $450.00
BC                      5.06%            14.70%             127.72          389.72
MB                    10.80%            17.40%             160.80          422.80
NB                      9.30%            14.30%              133.00          395.00
NL                      7.70%             14.40%             130.60          392.60
NS                      8.79%             21.00%             185.58          447.58
NT                      5.90%             14.05%             124.20          386.20
NU                      4.00%             11.50%             100.00          362.00
ON                      5.05%             11.16%              99.38          361.38
PE                       9.80%             16.70%             153.20          415.20
QC                    20.00%             24.00%             232.00          494.00
SK                     11.00%             15.00%             142.00          404.00
YT                       7.04%             12.76%             116.16          378.16

Even the most "generous" rate of credit for charitable donations over $200 (the combined 29% Federal, 24% Quebec) is less than the lowest rate (33 1/3%) for political contributions.

_____________________

*Note: in the first table (political donations) the second figure (the one with the asterisk) is based on a $1,000 donation so that an exact comparison can be made with the relevant figure in the second table.

Sean in Ottawa

Malcom-- I don't want to get in a big fight but conflation means to confuse two topics.

I fully understand the distinction between the subsidy and the tax credit but claim they are related and should be dealt with together in a comprehensive look at public party financing and you claim they should be looked at seperately. Telling me I must be confused when I am not irritates. Such words operate from the presumption that you know prior to conclusion of the conversation that you are right and the other is wrong. You should stop assuming that it takes confusion to not agree with you.

I am finding that it is characteristic of every time you disagree with me that there is some little dig, some little suggestion that our disagreement is somehow due to a defect on my side some confusion I have because you cannot be wrong. If you are doing this inadvertently then maybe it is a surprise to you when I become angry with you shortly after what seems like every direct interaction.

 

 

ygtbk

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I don't get the argument of conflation either-- this is all about considering the alternatives of public finance. The other forms of public finance should all be on the table when any one of them is discussed.

Sean, you may be correct in abstract, but when Chretien introduced the per-vote subsidy, it was plonked on top of the existing finance system - so far as I know, no holistic study of the system was done, the subsidy was just calibrated to replace lost corporate donations to the Liberals. So modifying it without considering the rest of the system would be perfectly consistent with the way it was introduced.

Sean in Ottawa

That it was brought in without consideration of the whole system for financing was wrong. If we are to go back to that question we should get it right now.

 

Sean in Ottawa

We need to look at this without regard for which party it helps or hurts and consider balancing influence and encouraging democracy.

Our democracy is a very ill institution. This cannot be about games and angles.

Unionist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Malcom-- I don't want to get in a big fight but conflation means to confuse two topics.

Ah. I thought it meant pumping Harper full of helium and watching him float away...

 

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Sean, I agree that the issue of the per vote grant and the maximum donation are related.  However, in every thread where this has been mentioned, they are always treated as part and parcel of Harper's proposed reforms.

At no point has Harper or anyone in the present government proposed doing away with the donation limit. Indeed, it was the HarperCons (with the support of the NDP) who reduced the maximum from $5000 to $1000 (since adjusted for inflation. (Tom Flanagan is not a part of the present government, has not been on Harper's staff for more than a year, seems to have had a falling out with his former protogé, does not speak on behalf of his former protogé and is a private citizen who is freee to make whatever proposals he wishes.)  Yet when it has been discussed here (and not just by you) it has consistently been framed that the abolition of the grant would be accompanied by the elimination of donation limits.  Not framed as a possibility, mind you, which would be entirely fair, but as an inevitability.

As to "digs," I suggest that you stop looking for insults.  My only "dig" is that it is neither fair nor honest to treat the issues as inseperable when they are, in fact, quite distinct.

If you want to go through a long list of "digs," rather than boring the socks off of the rest of the readers, I suggest you do it in a PM that I can delete without bothering to read it.

Sean in Ottawa

So now you say I am not being fair or honest. Really.

Instead of arguing against what I say you argue against either something I did not say or an exaggeration of it. In that sense you leave the impression that you just want to disagree rather than have anything to actually disagree about.

I have never said you could not separate the types of federal financing but I have said they are related and ought to be dealt with together. Since the Cons are saying they will eliminate public support of political parties when they mean only one of the supports it is quite right to raise the fact that both are forms of public finance. It does not look like you are substantively far from me on this -- only your rhetoric used to pick a fight and insult gives the impression of difference.

Some say we should consider Flanagan's statements as an indication of what the Cons might do and some disagree. But you prefer to argue that people are saying it is an "inevitability" when nobody has ever said that. You misrepresent other people's arguments to make them appear easier to defeat and then bury in baseless attacks.

I have no interest in any PM with you. I merely respond to correct the misrepresentations of what I say that seem to be a part of your debating style and to call you on the personal attacks. Otherwise I have no interest in any interaction with you. I don't like conversing with people who know everything and have nothing to learn, show no interest in actual inquiry, misrepresent other people's statement and appear to post only to point out how others are mistaken and confused.

 

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