Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Welfare for Politicians

It’s hard to believe the Marijuana Party, the Canada Action Party, the Communist Party and the Christian Heritage Party would have anything in common.

But they do.

They all want to jump into the government trough and get public subsidies from Canadian taxpayers.

In fact, all those parties will be in court today to argue that Canada’s political finance laws discriminate against them.

And in a sense they do.

Under the law, a political party gets $1.75 in public money for every vote they receive in the most recent federal election.

That means the Conservatives and the Liberals will pull in millions of dollars every year.

But here’s the catch: The funding is restricted to parties that obtain at least 2 per cent of the national vote or 5 per cent of the vote in the ridings where they ran candidates.

This clearly discriminates against the smaller fringe parties.

So I can understand why these parties are fighting this law in the courts.

Yet it’s a lose, lose situation.

If the smaller parties win this case it will cost taxpayers more money; but if the smaller parties lose, it will mean they will be discriminated against.

The answer, of course, is to abolish the public subsidy, which is really nothing more than a welfare plan for political parties.

No taxpayer should be forced to finance a political party, whether large or small. Political parties should rely on voluntary contributions. That’s the only system that’s fair for all parties.

For more on the “Welfare for Politicians” plan see this article I wrote which appeared recently in Report magazine.

1 comment:

Jess said...

I've always thought that the Presidential campaign fund here in the States should be abolished for the same reason. I don't know how it is collected in Canada, but it is voluntary in the U.S. You just check a yes or no box regarding donating $3 of your tax money to the fund. Every four years, following the election, it is news that neither of the major parties' candidates used the money, or in a few cases, are returning unused federal funds. Given that it is usually never even touched, that money shouldn't be sitting around. It should be put to much better use.