Tag Archives: election

The Incredible Cost of the Per-Vote Subsidy to Federal Parties

Last year, Canadians paid Gilles Duceppe and the Bloc Quebecois Party $2.7 million to prepare for this federal election campaign.  In 2010, Canadian taxpayers doled out $27 million to fill the coffers of the federal Parties. Here’s how the per-vote subsidy was divided amongst political Parties:

  • Conservatives – $10.4 million
  • Liberals – $7.2 million
  • NDP – $5 million
  • Bloc Quebecois – $2.7 million
  • Greens – $1.9 million

Over the last five years this subsidy adds up to over $135 million.  

  • Conservatives – $ 50.8 million
  • Liberals – $40.3 million
  • NDP – $ 24.6 million
  • Bloc Quebecois – $14.4 million
  • Greens – $7.5 million

It’s incredible to think that the $2 per-vote subsidy provides far more money than any of these Parties would ever raise on their own (perhaps with the exception of the Conservative “fundraising machine”). Think of these millions of dollars as life support for Parties like the Bloc Quebecois who need never have to raise a dime in Quebec again. It is “candy money” for Conservatives and Liberals allowing them to pay for even more TV ads and attack-ad mailings. There is something troubling with the realization that our tax dollars are going directly to fund the Parties’ backrooms.

Election 2011 – an uneventful gallop

When they burst from the gates, here’s what the field looked like (Nanos March 29th poll):

Con 38.4%

Lib 28.7%

Ndp 19.6%

Bq 9.1%

Grn 4.1%

 

 

Today, here’s the call (from the Nanos poll):

Con 38.7%

Lib 28.8%

Ndp 18.6%

Bq 9.0%

Grn 4.1%

 

Three weeks of campaigning and no change. This is a race for the leadership of our country! Either Canadians have yet to become interested and engaged; or the Leaders have yet to connect with Canadians in a way that would alter current perspectives about what is possible in Ottawa….

 

We just find it passing strange that the horses are trampling down the backstretch and there’s been no change in their positions.

The Run for Sussex Drive

As we pass the mid-way mark of the first week of the 2011 federal election campaign, the horse race has heated up. So early on and the ponies are frothing and the stakes have seemed to already doubled.

From the earliest polls, the Conservatives have bolted from the gates ahead of the pack.  Here are the early calls:

Abacus:                        Con 36% Lib 27% Ndp 20% Bq 9% Grn 8%
Forum Research:     Con 41% Lib 24% Ndp 19% Bq 10%
Decima:                        Con 38% Lib 24% Ndp 19% Bq 10%

Our favourite (and most accurate) Canadian pollster, Nik Nanos has issued similar numbers from a March 29th Nanos Research poll:  Con 38.4% Lib 28.7% Ndp 19.6% Bq 9.1% Grn 4.1%

(Interestingly, the Nanos poll also revealed the undecided at 21.7%.)

Already this is serious stuff. If the Conservatives cannot expand their lead through the course and the horses cross the finish line in their current pattern, Canadians will have a messy minority situation.  

With current positions, there will be no post-race celebration. In this Run for Sussex Drive, it appears that should the Conservatives not win their coveted majority, they will be unseated by a left-of-centre-separatist-supported coalition. Hence, the early “fear mongering” rhetoric from the Conservatives about what it might mean to have a two-headed horse with a separatist a—hole stumble across the line and into the winner’s circle.  

(If the race results weren’t so damn serious for our Nation, this trot through the next few weeks would be very entertaining!)

NOTE:  Daily updates on the latest polling results can be found at:  http://www.nanosresearch.com/main.asp

Saddle up! It’s going to be quite a ride!

The Economist and its review of the Canadian Prime Minister

 

A recent issue of The Economist marked Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s five-year anniversary in power by asking some very provoking questions for Canadian conservatives as well as the general public. In the article entitled, “The circumspect and circumscribed Conservative,” the question is put: “Stephen Harper has proved remarkably durable by curbing his instincts. Can he now remake his country?”

 

Here’s the crux of the analysis:

 

     STARTING a conservative revolution in Canada was never going to be easy. It is a socially liberal place, proud of its welfare state and ruled for 79 of the past 115 years by the centre-left Liberal party. The first time Stephen Harper led the Conservative Party in a general election, in 2004, it finished a distant second to the Liberals, who saw themselves as Canada’s “natural governing party”. Two years later, with the Liberals crippled by a kickback scandal, the Conservatives did well enough for Mr Harper to form a minority government. An evangelical Christian and economic libertarian, he vowed to turn a would-be “second-tier socialistic country” into one that “the Liberals wouldn’t even recognise”.

 

     Five years on, Mr Harper has pulled off two surprises. The biggest is that he is still prime minister, despite failing to win a majority in a subsequent election in 2008, making his the longest-serving minority government in Canada’s history. The second follows in part from the first: Canada remains a country that the Liberals can recognise perfectly well, with big government and social liberalism largely intact. “He emerged from the movement. He was going to be our Ronald Reagan,” says Gerry Nicholls, a former colleague of Mr Harper’s. “But he’s become what he’s always opposed. If he destroys the Liberal party by becoming it, what’s the point?”

 

Read the full article here:

http://www.economist.com/node/18114679?story_id=18114679

 

 

Putting an end to per-vote federal political subsidies

 

Just imagine in Canada, we are taxed to pay for the activities of our national political parties. Canadian taxpayers are on the hook for all politicos – paying for both MPs who represent our point of view and those who don’t – and even for Bloc MPs who are only interested in getting a bigger hunk of flesh from “Body Canada” for Quebecois. This practice amounts to state-sanctioned pick-pocketing. Since 2004, when former PM Jean Chretien and his Liberal band of “Nottingham sheriffs” decreed it law, we’ve all been paying for the shenanigans on Parliament Hill.

 

FACT:  In 2010, the total cost to taxpayers was $27.4 million.

 

Here are some more facts on the party subsidy as reported in the Hill Times:

     In 2010  five  parties received $27.4-million from the per vote subsidies. The Conservatives received $10.4-million; the Liberals received $7.3-million; the NDP received $5.0-million ; the Bloc Québécois received $2.8-million; and the Green Party received $1.9-million.

     Compare the per vote subsidies to the amounts raised by direct donations from individuals to the parties. The  Elections Canada’s website indicates that in 2009 (the latest full year available), the Bloc Québécois raised $834,762; the Conservatives raised $17,770,477, the Greens raised $1,166,874 ; the Liberals raised $10,120,312 and the NDP raised $4,039,104 (The Hill Times, March 29, 2010).The total equals $33.94-million.

     With the most recent adjustment for inflation, the per vote subsidy was raised $2.04 per year for 4Q 2010.

 

These facts are important to tuck away in our memory for this whole issue is soon to be a central point of argument and, possibly, a federal election issue.  (ed. – Given our disdain for this subsidy, full marks go to PM Stephen Harper and his persistence in wishing to cut the taxpayer per vote subsidies to political parties!)

 

The By George Journal will follow this argument as it is presented to the public in the months to come. To review the facts of the matter, we recommend W.T. Stanbury’s column in the Hill Times – “Comparing the per-vote subsidies to all federal political subsidies”

 

Full article:

http://www.hilltimes.com/dailyupdate/view/63

 

The ugly #’s behind our Big (Ontario) Government

   

Columnist Christina Blizzard calls a Big Government as she sees it. Here’s what she writes about Ontario’s McGuinty Government:

 

     The bald figures are these:

     1.Your electricity bill will climb 46% over the next five years.

     2.The government will give you a 10% rebate on the total bill — including the tax.

     3. In 2002-03, the year before the Liberals took power, total revenues to the province were $74.6 billion.

     4. That figure for the 2010/11 fiscal year is $107.6 billion. That additional $33 billion, one way or another, has come out of your pocket and mine.

     5. Total expenses in 2002/03 were $74.5 billion.

     6. Total expenses in 2010/11 are projected to be $125.6 billion — a $51.1-billion increase.

     The more the Liberals take money out of our pockets, the more they spend — and the more we go in debt.  This is irresponsible, verging on the reckless — and it has to stop.

 

To understand exactly what a Big Government approach will do to an economy, read “Spanky Math spanks Ontario: Thursday’s economic update features a head-spinning amount of bad news plugged in the numbers” – Christina Blizzard in the Toronto Sun:

http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/christina_blizzard/2010/11/18/16210876.html

 

The problem with young Canadians’ apathy towards politics

   
Canadians’ apathy towards politics is reaching new lows. Today we have an ingrained sense of cynicism for anything political and, particularly among our country’s youth, a growing disenchantment and disengagement with our political process. This unhealthy condition is reflected during elections when we are able to best gauge the citizenry’s interest by the percentage of ballots cast. So, here’s our sorry state in Canada:  
  • Just 54 per cent of adult Canadians voted in the 2008 federal election (ranked 16th out of 17 “peer countries” in the OECD)
  • Just 44 per cent of Ottawa voters bothered to vote in last week’s municipal election (a drop of 10 percentage points from 2006)
  • One in five of those eligible to vote for the first time in 2000 chose to do so

Enter Robert Fowler into this discussion. He’s Canada’s longest-serving ambassador to the United Nations and foreign policy advisor to three prime ministers. This past week Mr. Fowler spoke to University of Ottawa graduates as well as to Ottawa Citizen reporter Don Butler. His observations were recorded in the Citizen article:  Diplomat scolds Canada’s lost generation

 

We give TWO THUMBS UP to Mr. Fowler for his frank and biting assessment of what our citizens’ disinterest means for the future of Canada. In his words:

  • The civic and political literacy of young Canadians is appallingly low. Your age group’s involvement in the political process, at all levels of government, stretches any reasonable definition of apathy.
  • You seem to be enthusiastically disqualifying yourselves from any right to demand good government in your own country, and effective Canadian engagement abroad.
  • It’s intellectually dishonest for those who’ve collectively ignored their civic responsibilities to moan about the standards of political leadership in Canada.
  • Young Canadians] feel perfectly free to bitch and scream about the state of governance in our cities or our province or our country. But they do nothing about it. What I’m really saying is, they don’t deserve bitching rights.
  • The gap between rich and poor continues to grow and an exploding [global] population will only make that worse. Yours is a world that will necessarily impact everything you do, everything you hope to achieve, and if you allow it to get much sicker, it will threaten your potential successes and diminish your prospects.
  • … that world will get back at them, whether they like it or not. It’s going to impact them. It makes sense for them to want to influence it and change it in a way that will make that impact positive rather than negative.
  • Canada can’t run on fumes. It’s nice to say the world needs more Canada, but it’s mostly Canadians who say that.

Don Butler’s Ottawa Citizen article can be read here:

http://www.canada.com/business/story.html?id=3759289