Sunday, January 09, 2011

Nicholls Sees A Pattern

...in the spate of blogs and columns denouncing the practice of using taxpayer dollars to finance political parties:

Could it be the Conservatives, who have long opposed public subsidies, are spinning their friends in the media? And if that's the case does it mean the Tories are seeking to win over public opinion because they plan to address this controversial issue in their next budget?

And that leads to further questions. After all, the last time the Conservatives targeted these subsidies it nearly triggered a constitutional crisis, not to mention an unholy alliance between the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc.

Could it be Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hoping the subsidy issue will force an election this spring?

More likely the first option rather than the 2nd. For two reasons. First, while I can see this issue working for the CPoC, it isn't top of mind for anyone I know. I can't see how they could make it a cornerstone of any federal election campaign. Second, since any election promise would involve introducing legislation post-election anyhow, I don't see why the LPoC couldn't at least indicate a willingeness to consider such legislation (with suitable caveats). In other words, the issue would not be sufficient to differentiate the CPoC from the LPoC during a campaign.

And if cutting the voter subsidy does turn out to be a proposal in the upcoming budget, then the LPoC should signal a tentative willingness to deal. The party might do better anyway if they could rely on a smaller pool of well-heeled donors. Certainly they have yet to really master the current fundraising system.

11 comments:

Gayle said...

LPC should point out how much money CPC supporters get back in tax relief because of their donations. Then they should ask why the CPC are attacking the voter subsidy, which is designed to allow smaller parties like the Greens compete, and not the tax write off, which benefits CPC most of all.

Skinny Dipper said...

Gayle makes a good point about CPC supporters getting back taxpayer money for donating to the Conservative Party. The other parties should point this out.

Skinny Dipper said...

The reality is that taxpayers are subsidizing the Conservatives the most based on donations. By wanting to get rid of the voter subsidy, the Conservatives send a message that it wants to be the most taxpayer subsidized party based on donations.

Donations as a percentage of total taxpayer party revenue (Est. calculated from Elections Canada):

Average = 48%

Conservative = 57%
Liberal = 49%
NDP = 38%
Bloc = 15%
Green = 32%

The subsidy per vote accounts for the remaining percentage = 100 - x.

Paul S said...

After all, the last time the Conservatives targeted these subsidies it nearly triggered a constitutional crisis . . .

Even worse, it triggered an existential crisis for the Libs, Dippers and Greens.

Then they should ask why the CPC are attacking the voter subsidyThe reality is that taxpayers are subsidizing the Conservatives the most based on donations

Cons sacrifice more for their party, so of course they should recieve a larger credit.

However, we're willing to remove the tax credit completely too, if you like.

No matter how the left attempts to attack the Cons on this issue, the left comes out as losers. Keep up the good work. :P

Gayle said...

"we're willing to remove the tax credit completely too, if you like."

Really? Do you have a link to where that is an official plank of the CPC platform, or even where a single CPC MP has said as much?

Thanks

Skinny Dipper said...

I think a proposed elimination of the vote subsidy could be the poison pill that will cause an election. This spring could be the best time for the Conservatives to have an election. The Cons just need the opposition to defeat the gov't. Then, the Cons can state that the opposition wasn't willing to make parliament work. Remember, the Cons only need about 40% of the vote to get a majority. The other 60% doesn't matter.

ridenrain said...

"it isn't top of mind for anyone I know"

The subsidy has far greater traction than the census does. Taxpayers dollars given to political parties is far more unpopular than some prying form that most people ignored anyways.

This is pure win for the Conservatives and going to be a huge shock to other parties who should have been working to get donations.

Gayle said...

Oh yes. A HUGE shock. Because Harper has only been harping on this one for years now.

Something tells me the opposition is pretty well aware this one is coming down the pipe, what with Harper signalling this is going to be an election issue ever since the last time he tried to do this and all...

ridenrain said...

If the Liberals were aware that the subsidy is going, they definatly have failed to secure funding through their members. I think the NDP was actually better at raising money, and who knows what's going to happen to the Greens or the Bloc.

R. G. Harvie said...

This Conservative's $.02?

The need for politicians to secure funding privately has contributed to the illness of the politics of back-scratching.. It really amounts to legal graft where you organize fund raisers and then the degree to which you have been a "good soldier" impacts directly on:

a) your ability to have a "private" conversation with government; and

b) your ability to secure government goodies like political appointments.

This is what caused me to leave the PC party of Alberta.. And by encouraging more, not less of this, the Cons are mistake.

Gayle said...

Good point Harvie. That story about Baird making the rounds today cannot help.