Here's a letter I wrote which appears in the Ottawa Hill Times. It's my response to a column by Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch who supports using public money to subsidize political parties.
In his column (“Secret donations damage Canadian politics” Nov. 9) Duff Conacher reveals why his group, Democracy Watch, needs a new name.
From what he recommended regarding political donations, democracy doesn’t seem to be his main priority.
After all, Conacher supports the idea of forcing Canadians to subsidize political parties through their tax dollars.
That’s nothing but a “welfare for politicians” scheme, and it’s wrong.
Like every other private organization, political parties should rely on voluntary contributions. Compelling taxpayers to finance parties they don’t support is clearly undemocratic.
As Thomas Jefferson once put it, “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”
And Conacher’s other idea -- to severely limit what individuals can contribute to political parties -- is also undemocratic.
For one thing, government should not have the right to tell me what I can do with my own money?
For another thing, stopping me from contributing my own money to a political party of my own choice is an infringement on my right to free expression.
So forget the name “Democracy Watch”; a better name for Conacher’s group might be “Socialist Watch.”