The end of $1.75 per year per vote?

By Harold Jansen on Nov 26, 2008

According to the Ottawa Citizen, the Conservatives are going to propose the end of the $1.75 per vote per year subsidy that came in 2004 as part of the reforms to party finance. The Conservatives are justifying this by saying that the country can't afford this in times of economic downturn. That explanation doesn't really make a lot of sense, considering that the $28 million that this cost taxpayers in 2007 is a tiny part of the multi-billion dollar federal budget. What seems more likely is that the Conservatives have wanted to do this since they can easily live without the subsidy. Only about a third of Conservative revenue comes from the state subsidy. Compare that to around 60% for the BQ, two-thirds for the Liberals, and half for the NDP and Greens. The economic crisis provides a nice pretext for cutting the subsidy.

It's hard to see how this is going to pass in Parliament since this would severely hurt all three opposition parties, who together have a majority of the votes in the House. How hard will the Conservatives push on this one?

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I think this will be a very

I think this will be a very easy sell for Harper given the current economic climate.

Also, remember that this will be bundled with cuts to discretionary spending for MP's, and senior civil servants. Harper and Flaherty have put together a very mixed bag here.

The cuts in discretionary spending and pay freezes are a no brainer, and no MP could vote against that without looking greedy and in a conflict of interest.

The removal of public financing for political parties can be spun like the pay freeze, but entails something more sinister for the opposition parties.

I wonder can the opposition can attack public financing at committee and avoid debate on the bundled legislation. If the opposition is going to win this fight, they need to use a scalpel to get what they want.

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