Canada has lost the per vote subsidy

Article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...

Basically each party used to get 2 dollars for each vote they received when we held an election. The conservative government has just ended it.

I am really unhappy about that because I think it was very democratic/ In fact if I had my way I might bump it up to 3 or 4 dollars and then not allow donations to parties.

That... is a weird policy. ..very weird.

Dr.Ghastly wrote:

That... is a weird policy. ..very weird.

This. Wouldn't that policy be a target for corruption? I know if American political parties got money per vote there would probably be actual voter fraud occurring.

It actually seems to work pretty well but is more aimed at multiparty political systems. I cant see much use of it in two party politics since it's basically just dividing money roughly in halves each election. The subsidy means that parties do not have to rely on corporate sponsors too much, thus lessening power of special interests.

It was a great policy. It let parties that were popular enough to garner votes but not quite popular enough to win seats to continue putting candidates into future elections. Parties like the Green Party, who only have 1 seat in the house of commons, but received 4% of the popular vote last election. That's 576,221 votes, according to Wikipedia. So $1,152,442, which is huge to a small party.

DanyBoy wrote:

It was a great policy. It let parties that were popular enough to garner votes but not quite popular enough to win seats to continue putting candidates into future elections. Parties like the Green Party, who only have 1 seat in the house of commons, but received 4% of the popular vote last election. That's 576,221 votes, according to Wikipedia. So $1,152,442, which is huge to a small party.

Couldn't supporters of the green party just give them a few bucks each?

I too find the per vote subsidy odd, but only because it differs tremendously from my own political experience. I suppose it isn't any weirder than having massive corporations using shareholder dollars (including pensioners') to lobby heavily to defund pensions.

Any way you slice it, the influence of money has broken democracy.

Paleocon wrote:

I too find the per vote subsidy odd, but only because it differs tremendously from my own political experience. I suppose it isn't any weirder than having massive corporations using shareholder dollars (including pensioners') to lobby heavily to defund pensions.

Any way you slice it, the influence of money has broken democracy.

But massive corporations are just large people!

They're not large, they're just big boned!

That policy seems to be a slightly sub-optimal way to handle political funding issues, but it's roughly a billion times better than what we have in the US, so I'm all for it. Or I was, until they stopped it.

Ulairi wrote:
DanyBoy wrote:

It was a great policy. It let parties that were popular enough to garner votes but not quite popular enough to win seats to continue putting candidates into future elections. Parties like the Green Party, who only have 1 seat in the house of commons, but received 4% of the popular vote last election. That's 576,221 votes, according to Wikipedia. So $1,152,442, which is huge to a small party.

Couldn't supporters of the green party just give them a few bucks each?

There'd be a marked difference in funding between a popular party, and a party that is popular with the rich. Whether that's good or bad is entirely up to your personal point of view.

I hated that policy while it existed, and am glad to see it going out the door. If a party can't raise money from its own supporters, then it shouldn't exist on government subsidies.

In general I like our election financing rules here in Canada: strict per-person limits on donations, and nothing from corporations. They help reduce corruption, and keep special interests at bay.

I like that even in a two party system. If simply by voting for a given party they would receive more support there would a lot more third party votes in this country by those fed up with the current system.

There would also be more voter fraud but hopefully that would be planned for and supervised.

In Belgium, the political parties get government monies based on the number of representatives they won during the latest elections. This was instated after a huge corruption scandal in the mid-nineties.

DanyBoy wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
DanyBoy wrote:

It was a great policy. It let parties that were popular enough to garner votes but not quite popular enough to win seats to continue putting candidates into future elections. Parties like the Green Party, who only have 1 seat in the house of commons, but received 4% of the popular vote last election. That's 576,221 votes, according to Wikipedia. So $1,152,442, which is huge to a small party.

Couldn't supporters of the green party just give them a few bucks each?

There'd be a marked difference in funding between a popular party, and a party that is popular with the rich. Whether that's good or bad is entirely up to your personal point of view.

But, it's on a per vote basis, right? So, if the green party gets one million votes they get x per vote?

That's how it was, but not any more.

My basic point was that under the old system a party could get a good chunk of their funding simply by being popular and getting a lot of votes. Now parties are going to need to actively court people with money in order to maintain funding. This is great for the people with money, because now they've got more influence. The amount of influence they've gained depends on how much money contributes to getting politicians elected vs. getting votes from those who don't donate.

Personally, I'm less pleased with that outcome.

DanyBoy wrote:

This is great for the people with money, because now they've got more influence. The amount of influence they've gained depends on how much money contributes to getting politicians elected vs. getting votes from those who don't donate.

The per person donation cap is pretty low - just $1000. This doesn't exactly favor the super rich.

And parties already got the vast majority of their funds from private donors - the subsidies were just (taxpayer funded) gravy.

Almost anyone can afford to throw $20 at a political party they believe in - that's the life blood of the system.

DanyBoy wrote:

That's how it was, but not any more.

My basic point was that under the old system a party could get a good chunk of their funding simply by being popular and getting a lot of votes. Now parties are going to need to actively court people with money in order to maintain funding. This is great for the people with money, because now they've got more influence. The amount of influence they've gained depends on how much money contributes to getting politicians elected vs. getting votes from those who don't donate.

Personally, I'm less pleased with that outcome.

But, it was just $2 a vote. If you actually believe in say the green party, EVERYONE can afford to give them $2. I don't see what's wrong with cutting this when if someone actually believes in a political party, even a small party and wants to vote for them, they can also throw them a few bucks.

KrazyTacoFO wrote:
Dr.Ghastly wrote:

That... is a weird policy. ..very weird.

This. Wouldn't that policy be a target for corruption? I know if American political parties got money per vote there would probably be actual voter fraud occurring.

Yeah, Canada should adopt the US's squeaky clean, corruption-free system of political funding.

Jonman wrote:
KrazyTacoFO wrote:
Dr.Ghastly wrote:

That... is a weird policy. ..very weird.

This. Wouldn't that policy be a target for corruption? I know if American political parties got money per vote there would probably be actual voter fraud occurring.

Yeah, Canada should adopt the US's squeaky clean, corruption-free system of political funding.

They shouldn't do that either. I was actually asking a legitimate question because I really could see American politicians using it for corruption. I'm not that informed on Canadian political policies, thus my question I asked.

jowner wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
DanyBoy wrote:

It was a great policy. It let parties that were popular enough to garner votes but not quite popular enough to win seats to continue putting candidates into future elections. Parties like the Green Party, who only have 1 seat in the house of commons, but received 4% of the popular vote last election. That's 576,221 votes, according to Wikipedia. So $1,152,442, which is huge to a small party.

Couldn't supporters of the green party just give them a few bucks each?

They did this.... by voting for said party and knowing that got them $2.

The Conservatives will say it was for efficiency but it wasn't like this was some major federal expense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadia...

14,720,580 voted last election.... crippling blow to the Pirate party that had 3,198 votes.

I voted radical marijuana last election because I didn't want to give anyone else my vote and $2. I don't even smoke.

Shouldn't you vote based on who you want best to govern? And if you wanted to give the party money, couldn't you cut a check for $2 or $20 and be done with it?

I'm not getting the outrage here. If you want to give the marijuana party $2, just give them $2.

Ulairi wrote:
DanyBoy wrote:

It was a great policy. It let parties that were popular enough to garner votes but not quite popular enough to win seats to continue putting candidates into future elections. Parties like the Green Party, who only have 1 seat in the house of commons, but received 4% of the popular vote last election. That's 576,221 votes, according to Wikipedia. So $1,152,442, which is huge to a small party.

Couldn't supporters of the green party just give them a few bucks each?

They did this.... by voting for said party and knowing that got them $2.

The Conservatives will say it was for efficiency but it wasn't like this was some major federal expense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadia...

14,720,580 voted last election.... crippling blow to the Pirate party that had 3,198 votes.

I voted radical marijuana last election because I didn't want to give anyone else my vote and $2. I don't even smoke.

edit: you only get $2 if your party has 2% of the popular vote so no one got my $2 dollars and the pirates got nothing.

Ulairi wrote:
DanyBoy wrote:

That's how it was, but not any more.

My basic point was that under the old system a party could get a good chunk of their funding simply by being popular and getting a lot of votes. Now parties are going to need to actively court people with money in order to maintain funding. This is great for the people with money, because now they've got more influence. The amount of influence they've gained depends on how much money contributes to getting politicians elected vs. getting votes from those who don't donate.

Personally, I'm less pleased with that outcome.

But, it was just $2 a vote. If you actually believe in say the green party, EVERYONE can afford to give them $2. I don't see what's wrong with cutting this when if someone actually believes in a political party, even a small party and wants to vote for them, they can also throw them a few bucks.

The vote subsidy was a way to game the system in an attempt to create a better system. Different folk will tell you whether it's a success or not. But I believe that many aspects of the Canadian political system causes it to trend towards two parties. This was one of the few policies that worked against that, hence why I'm sad to see it go. Sure we could institute a lot of voting reform to try and accomplish that, but I don't think that will happen in any realistic time frame. Like my lifetime. Plus, I don't like the idea that a party's success is dependent in a large part on it's ability to canvas for donations.

DanyBoy wrote:

Plus, I don't like the idea that a party's success is dependent in a large part on it's ability to canvas for donations.

Why not?

Why should any idiot with an idea be able to run for office without ensuring his own financial backing by finding enough like-minded supporters to contribute and support him?

Why is a political party entitled to receive money from taxpayers like the old policy dictated?

Ulairi wrote:
jowner wrote:
Ulairi wrote:
DanyBoy wrote:

It was a great policy. It let parties that were popular enough to garner votes but not quite popular enough to win seats to continue putting candidates into future elections. Parties like the Green Party, who only have 1 seat in the house of commons, but received 4% of the popular vote last election. That's 576,221 votes, according to Wikipedia. So $1,152,442, which is huge to a small party.

Couldn't supporters of the green party just give them a few bucks each?

They did this.... by voting for said party and knowing that got them $2.

The Conservatives will say it was for efficiency but it wasn't like this was some major federal expense.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadia...

14,720,580 voted last election.... crippling blow to the Pirate party that had 3,198 votes.

I voted radical marijuana last election because I didn't want to give anyone else my vote and $2. I don't even smoke.

Shouldn't you vote based on who you want best to govern? And if you wanted to give the party money, couldn't you cut a check for $2 or $20 and be done with it?

I'm not getting the outrage here. If you want to give the marijuana party $2, just give them $2.

I'm not outraged. Its pretty much just a trivial budget cut. The argument for it I assume is the realization that modern politics requires $$$ and this was a fair not to inefficient way for helping parties operate. Anyone who is a educated voter knew that their vote was also worth $2 donation towards said party and their goals.

I didn't support any of the major parties so I pretty much threw my vote away on a single issue vote(we can do that in Canada because we have multiple parties). The green party supports the legalization but I don't support much rest of their platform. I think the NDP does also to a certain extent.

AndrewA wrote:
DanyBoy wrote:

Plus, I don't like the idea that a party's success is dependent in a large part on it's ability to canvas for donations.

Why not?

Why should any idiot with an idea be able to run for office without ensuring his own financial backing by finding enough like-minded supporters to contribute and support him?

Why is a political party entitled to receive money from taxpayers like the old policy dictated?

see my edit above. They already handicapped the system that you needed 2% of the popular vote to get money. After the Green party all the rest of the single issue parties/independents/marxists what have you put together don't even amount to 2%. Wasn't like the Federal government cut the Rhinoceros party a cheque for $8500.

Ulairi wrote:

And if you wanted to give the party money, couldn't you cut a check for $2 or $20 and be done with it?

You could, but then you have to go to the trouble of cutting a check. We know that humans...can be a lil' lazy.

AndrewA wrote:
DanyBoy wrote:

Plus, I don't like the idea that a party's success is dependent in a large part on it's ability to canvas for donations.

Why is a political party entitled to receive money from taxpayers like the old policy dictated?

The individual parties aren't entitled to anything. The spending on the subsidy was the cost of running a workable multi-party democracy. If we want the political system to run a certain way, we need to set up rules and incentives so that it operates as we want it to.
In this day and age, dollar bills are the tokens required to even play the politics game. Politicians have to have them. If in gaining them they also become beholden to their benefactors, democracy is weakened, in my opinion. The equal voices of the people become less equal.

KrazyTacoFO wrote:
Jonman wrote:
KrazyTacoFO wrote:
Dr.Ghastly wrote:

That... is a weird policy. ..very weird.

This. Wouldn't that policy be a target for corruption? I know if American political parties got money per vote there would probably be actual voter fraud occurring.

Yeah, Canada should adopt the US's squeaky clean, corruption-free system of political funding.

They shouldn't do that either. I was actually asking a legitimate question because I really could see American politicians using it for corruption. I'm not that informed on Canadian political policies, thus my question I asked.

I suspect I'm even less well informed on Canadian politics than you (you'd probably struggle to find someone less informed than me in that regard), but on face value, it seems like a less corruptible system than soliciting donations from individuals.

Things I liked about the per-vote subsidy:

-It was a nice little consolation prize for parties that got screwed by our first-past-the-post system. Your party got 30% of the vote but only won 15% of the seats? At least you're getting some money out of those extra votes.

-It was an easy way to support a party. You don't need to look up how to donate and then write a cheque, just tick the box on your ballot and it's all taken care of. I'm a lazy man, after all.

-It added a nice layer of anonymity between contributions and contributors.

Losing it isn't the end of the world, but I don't seen any real benefit in getting rid of it ($30 million per year? That's a pretty tiny fraction of the federal budget). It really does feel like the Conservatives are doing it just to spite the smaller, less popular parties.

DanyBoy wrote:
AndrewA wrote:
DanyBoy wrote:

Plus, I don't like the idea that a party's success is dependent in a large part on it's ability to canvas for donations.

Why is a political party entitled to receive money from taxpayers like the old policy dictated?

The individual parties aren't entitled to anything. The spending on the subsidy was the cost of running a workable multi-party democracy. If we want the political system to run a certain way, we need to set up rules and incentives so that it operates as we want it to.
In this day and age, dollar bills are the tokens required to even play the politics game. Politicians have to have them. If in gaining them they also become beholden to their benefactors, democracy is weakened, in my opinion. The equal voices of the people become less equal.

Sure - I agree that we don't want our parties beholden to any one person, company, or special interest group. Which is why only individuals can donate, and only up to a very low cap. A politician is not going to sell himself out for $1000.

muttonchop wrote:

Losing it isn't the end of the world, but I don't seen any real benefit in getting rid of it ($30 million per year? That's a pretty tiny fraction of the federal budget). It really does feel like the Conservatives are doing it just to spite the smaller, less popular parties.

Perhaps there is some truth to their motivation, but it wasn't that long ago that the CPC was a much smaller (and poorer) party. They just got their sh*t together, learned how to do grassroots fundraising, and started being able to finance themselves through smarts, not government handouts.

Perhaps the Liberals, Greens, and NDP should take a page out of the CPC playbook and do some serious grassroots fundraising.... just a thought.