Letter to the Editor – Mario Leclerc is not happy with the Harper Government cutting vote subsidy for parties – October 31, 2011

As you are aware the PC government is going to impose – its majority comprises of 39% of popular vote – to undermine our democracy by eliminating the per-vote subsidy system in Canada. 


The per-vote subsidy in Canada is for each registered federal political party that received at least 2% of all valid votes the last general election or at least 5% of the valid votes in the electoral districts in which it had a candidate. The per-vote subsidy, gives the party each year of $2.04 per vote received in the last election.




In reality, this move would handicap parties with a lower-income voting base that means that only those with the best ability to raise money get to have their ideas heard not the others. People who can’t afford to contribute to political parties would be cut out of this whole process.


Furthermore, it would concentrate influence in the hands of those with deeper pockets, instead of giving voters a voice. It runs against democracy. Sadly, parties trying to break through would have practically no means.

In fact, those who make political contributions tend to be individuals that have more disposable income. The poor, by and large, do not make political contributions. People that have more comfortable means, are more likely to make political contributions:

According to McMaster University political scientist Henry Jacek, political contributions tend to come from the wealthy, and not the poor. It is also clear from other jurisdictions in the world that political donors typically are people that have more disposable income.

Also, according to political scientist Ned Franks of Queen’s University, the elimination of the per-vote subsidy will mean that political parties with a rich support base will now be far better off than parties whose supporters are poorer or who are not the type to make political donations. He stated that the move greatly favours the Conservative party: “There’s only one party who benefits, and — surprise, surprise — it’s the Conservatives.

The public support for the political process and political parties is widely accepted in a great many democratic countries around the world indeed.



The elimination of the per-vote subsidy could also have the effect of further reducing an already low voter turnout by removing an incentive that encourages many Canadian citizens to vote. The per-vote subsidy ensures that a voter’s participation at the ballot box will at least still make a difference even if their preferred riding candidate has very little chance of winning or is assured of a win.



In fact, this move is motivated by a desire to cripple all other parties, not by concern over taxpayer dollars.


Unfortunately, this move represents a partisan attempt to bankrupt the other political parties and further increase their own party’s financial advantage.


Quite frankly, this is a direct attack on the democratic process.

Mario Leclerc  



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  1. Fair comment, Mario. How low will Harper go to keep power?

  2. Well written Mario!!

  3. It seems to me that this was discussed previously. Actually the Conservatives lose the biggest portion of the subsidy that was introduced by Jean Chretien in 2004 when the Liberal Party was haemorrhaging funds. The biggest gain so far would be the NDP who will be reaping in $2.3 Million every three months. No wonder Mario is so p’eed off that the subsidy is being gradually phased out over a few years. FYI, the Canadian taxpayer is on the hook for about $30 Million a year to federal parties.

  4. Harper has pretty much absolute power for the next few years. Hang on to your hats!

  5. I do not want to help new or one issue parties, and I doubt Jane and Naeem over at XYZ retail wants to be forced to either.
    That 2 dollars and 4 cents a vote comes from all Canadians and is then not available for health care, or employee pensions. If you have a good cause, people will support it, don’t force everyone to pay for it!

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