Friday, November 28, 2008

Andrew Coyne is happy

So am I. Electoral welfare must go. The spending limits should also be increased $2200 for the party and $2200 for the riding.

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.

The $1.95 “allowance” violated every one of those principles. By abolishing it, the Tories are finishing the job Chretien started, of creating a truly citizen-based campaign finance system. Or not quite: even without this particular subsidy, the parties would still benefit from the hefty tax credit on political donations (the formal beneficiary is the donor, but in practice the incidence is shared), while candidates would still have their expenses partially reimbursed. But it’s certainly a big step in the right direction.

1 comment:

Robert M. said...

Here I must only agree partially. While I applaud Stephen Harper for having the courage and integrity of putting an end to this outrage whereby the taxpayers finance political parties, I strongly believe that, since corporations cannot vote in elections, the sacrosanct principle of “ NO TAXATAION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION “ must provide the corporate sector the inalienable right to express a political preference through the power of the purse.

In short, the corporations should have the right to publically or privately donate as much money as they see fit to any political party of their choice. If a shareholder has a problem with the political endorsement of a corporation, then two options become available. First of all, since corporations are much more democratic then unions, a shareholder can always push for the adoption of a motion at an annual assembly on the issue of political donations. The second option is to sell the shares of a corporation whose political endorsements aren’t shared.

Unions on the other hand should never be allowed to financially or publically endorse any political party since, unlike Texas, Canada does not protect the workers from union intimidation and extortion. Moreover, unions do not pay any income tax on the union dues collected. Consequently, workers who are already forced to pay union dues should not see their money being spent on political causes which they find abhorrent. Autoworkers making 71 $ an hour on the assembly line would be much more likely to support Stephen Harper’s tax cutting agenda than the tax and spend policies of those political parties endorsed by their union bosses.

I Support Lord Black