Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bloc Benefits From Liberal Political Subsidy: Nearly $ 300 million in welfare

The four opposition Political Parties are "entitled" to their entitlements!
Follow the money to see who Canadians are supporting with donations through membership to their political party.
On the surface, it would appear Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives have the most to lose if subsidies were cut because they garnered the most votes in the October election. The Conservatives earned $10 million in subsidies, compared to $7.7 million for the Liberals, $4.9 million for the NDP, $2.6 million for the Bloc Québécois and $1.8 million for the Greens.
But because the Conservatives have such a strong fundraising base, their subsidy represents only 37 per cent of the party's total revenues.
By comparison, the subsidy amounts to 63 per cent of the Liberals' funding, 86 per cent of the Bloc's, 57 per cent of the NDP's and 65 per cent of the Greens'. - CBC November 2008
Between 2004 and 2008, Canadians will have spent $290 million on subsidies to federal political parties. If subsidies continue, either because of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s reversal on the matter, or if a Liberal-NDP-Bloc Quebecois coalition takes power, Canadians will pay out another $260 million to parties between 2009 and 2013. That’s almost the price tag on another federal election fight between Ottawa’s warring forces.- Frontier Centre
..The BQ continues to depend on state subsidies like no other party: over 80% of the party's revenue comes from the annual subsidy. The Liberals are the only other party that gets a majority of its money from the state (though well behind the BQ at about 60% in 2008).
The fact that the Liberals and Michael Ignatieff essentially hold the balance of power in Parliament (the NDP and BQ have signaled that they will always vote against the government) means that it is unlikely that the Conservatives will reintroduce the measure to remove the subsidy. Unless, however, Stephen Harper wants to provoke an election ... but that likely won't be for a while. But it is imperative for the Liberals to learn how to thrive under this new regime. By my estimates, Conservative revenue is up about 60% since the 2004 changes to party finance. The Liberals are down 12%. Righting that balance has to be one of Michael Ignatieff's biggest priorities as Liberal leader.- Mapleleaf Web
The Conservative government nearly blew itself out of the water last November when it tried to cut off $27-million a year in federal allowances to political parties. Although polls showed the idea was popular with the public, the commentariat generally panned it as a low blow against competing parties, because they are more dependent on the subsidies than the Conservatives are. The opposition parties formed their famous coalition and threatened to vote non-confidence against the Conservatives, who quickly retracted the proposal. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however, has vowed to bring it back as part of his campaign platform in the next election.-Globe & Mail
I don’t care what their motivations are: it’s the right thing to do. The public subsidy came in with the Chretien campaign finance reforms in 2003. But it was entirely contrary in spirit. The point of the restrictions on corporate and union donations was that elections should be a matter between the candidates and the voters. Corporations and unions don’t get extra votes in the ballot box, and shouldn’t get extra voice in the fund-raising contest. Nor should corporate and union leaders be able to donate other people’s money on their behalf. Whether to contribute to a political party, and how much, and to whom, should be a private, personal matter — voluntary, individual decisions.-Andrew Coyne
H/T to Pundits' Guide (Great Site for non-partisan information on Canadian Federal Politics)
The party raised $208,455.07 in the last three months of 2009 from 1,936 contributors, for an average donation size of $107.67. This yielded an annual take of some $621.5K, the Bloc's best ever non-election year since quarterly numbers were first reported in 2005, and the new party finance regime took effect.-Pundits Guide
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wilson said...

Could leave the subsidy as is,
and take away all the other freebies,
like postage, cost of 10%ers...or give a flat administration fee to run party head office,
cancel the election campaign reimbursements for candidates/MPs.

Could cut perks such as free flights for family members, and free massages etc.

Blame Crash said...

The real benefit to eliminating this welfare subsidy to political parties is that it'll force them to listen to their supporter’s opinions a lot more than they do now.

The way it stands now, they can show a total disregard for Canadians and not suffer because of it. Take for example the totally undemocratic installation of a “leader” who’s spent 34 years of the last 38 years living and paying taxes in other countries and is practically oblivious to anyone outside of Toronto and his “caste” of people.

This sort of disgraceful stunt wouldn’t happen if these sorts of rules were in place now. They’d have to work a lot harder to earn the financial support of Canadians but Canada will be the real winner if these changes are made.

The Pundits' Guide said...

CS, thank you again for your very kind citations and recommendations.

Allow me to point out one consideration when trying to assess the financial picture of the Bloc however, and that's the fundraising done by riding associations and candidates.

To date, no-one has assembled the data from all the many riding association reports from all the parties, but they have had to report their own contributions and expenses, along with their net worth, on an annual basis, since 2005.

Before then, each party treated the reporting of riding funds differently (because there was no common legal standard).

The Bloc attributed all fundraising and membership revenues to the riding they came from, but then sent a royalty back to the central party. However, they prepared consolidated statements, and reported everything together.

Starting with the new rules, which require central parties and riding associations to report separately, and to specifically report transfers of funds between them, the Bloc changed its approach. One can't compare their current levels of fundraising with pre-2005 levels, and I'm sure even 2005 was affected by way of transition.

I know it's easier when the public subsidy and central fundraising data are so easily available, and the riding data is so difficult to assemble, to do comparisons between only those two categories.

But before I get into the business of reporting the percent of revenue represented by fundraising vs. the quarterly allowance, I'm going to want to include riding and candidate fundraising, as well as that done by the central parties.

Only then will we be able to state the facts properly. Of course, I leave the interpretation of the policy implications for others, as always ...

Anonymous said...

It's tough to find work as a dragon slayer if there are no dragons around.
Back when the buck ninety five subsidy was brought in by the liberals the bloc was in bad shape financially.
The liberals were trying to portray the Reform party as a regional one and as such not 'national' enough to fight the separatist threat to Canada's unity.
But with the Bloc broke they weren't much of a threat anyway.
So the liberals solved that little problem by funding the separatists with our tax dollars.
A nice healthy separatist dragon to protect Canada from, something the Liberals could say the regional Reform Party was ill equipped to do.
Not that I'm suggesting that the liberals are cynical opportunists or anything like that...


potato said...

I like the way Stan thinks.

There was only one corrupt party under the old rules and that was the Liberal party. They are the only ones that should have paid the price for their inability to follow the rules. Some have argued that their repayment of some of the moneys was an admission of guilt which should have led to the deregistration of the party. That would have been a justifiable and well earned punishment. Instead, the Liberals get off virtually scott-free and the taxpayer is punished, forced to fund another social program in perpetuity and losing their freedom to decide if they want to support a political party.

R. G. Harvie said...

The real benefit to eliminating this welfare subsidy to political parties is that it'll force them to listen to their supporter’s opinions a lot more than they do now.

I think the issue is a little more complex, because, as true as the aforesaid commentary is, what it also leads to is a total reliance upon appeasing the same "supporters".. and not all the supporters, of any party, are "Fred and Martha" to borrow a phrase.

It is only in recent years that the Conservatives have held an edge, and if the Liberals get their act together, you can bet that the "monied elite" will be only too happy to pay the price of their "ticket" to government.

So.. I know you're already pissed at me Crash, but I think reliance upon special interests for political funding has some pretty big downside as well.

CanadianSense said...

Wilson, I don't know many people who think politicans should earn more money at the Provincial Federal Level. I am open minded on less taxpayer funded trips, junkets, 10% etc.

Blame Crash,

I am in agreement we are complaining and paying for the constant political stunts.

Pundits Guide,

Your welcome, thank you again for your significant contribution in raising the discourse in a non partisan manner.

I agree we don't have a "full picture" to determine with complete confidence of the financials as accounting rules seem are as consistent a firm jello.

Stan and Potato, I agree the Liberals have used the "Bloc", "radical reformists party" to great advantage in framing their divisive politics practices. The NDP made a tactical mistake in not helping the CPC eliminate the political party funding.

Some of us think the Greens, Liberals Bloc would fall behind the NDP.


I look at Ford who had to restructure before the October 2008 meltdown. They were able to withstand the meltdown and did not need a bailout.

Our political parties should NOT be getting an additional bailout. Let them go door to door, use social media to fundraise for their platform and leadership conventions.

If we see or hear less from them as a result of less money, I think MOST of us would be better off.

Being a political junkie enjoying QP I admit I miss the junior kindergarten antics.

Our traditional media has shifted to an unhealthy activist position and failing to investigate or report the news. They are mixing opinion editorials in too much fueling these political games.