ABOLISHMENT OF THE PER VOTE SUBSIDY ….. Great Politics….. Bad Policy
By: Heather Knogler
Word Count: 12,241
The Conservative Fox Guarding the Political Contribution Hen House
The Canadian public subsidizes the cost to political parties for their campaigns in many ways. Some of them direct and obvious and others that are less obvious. The Conservative Governments has announced a phase out plan for one of those direct subsidies which is referred to as the per vote subsidy. The phase out plan is for the complete abolishment of the per vote subsidy. The result has been the ability of the Conservative government to entrench themselves as the leader in the political game of financial contributions. This is great politics but bad public policy. The government has used the rhetoric of debt, direct subsidies, and the sponsorship scandal to secure support for the abolishment of the per vote subsidy. The result is great politics. Unfortunately, the Conservative government did not consider many important issues, impacts, and justifications for the abolishment. The result of which is a bad public policy.
The optimal solution would be to ensure that all three of the subsidies remain in effect as in accordance with the original objectives. Further, if there is a cut required to the subsidies due to financial constraints that this be based on voter participation. Thus, the subsidy that is least linked to public participation be cut the most drastically. The subsidy with the greatest tie to voter participation be linked the least. This solution with ensure democracy in our political contribution system.
Political parties currently receive taxpayer support in three ways: (a) a tax credit paid to taxpayers for their contributions to political parties; (b) the reimbursement of eligible election expenses; and (c) a quarterly subsidy based on votes cast. Although each of these subsidies work together to provide public...