Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cutting Government Funding to Political Parties

All the media is crowing that the Harper move to cut funding to political parties is going to hurt other parties more than it will hurt the Conservatives. I want to hear more analysis of this, but I have two initial thoughts:

* The $1.95 per vote was an impediment to strategic voting. If you voted with your heart rather than strategically, you might not have a chance of voting for the winner, but you at least ensured that your party got $1.95/year because of your vote. Harper is removing that impediment, which will help the Liberals enormously because the Liberals are usually the benefactors of strategic voting.

* Some people seem to be complaining that it's not fair because other parties aren't as good at fundraising as the Conservatives. Well, get better at it! There is absolutely no reason that the Liberals can't raise as much as the Conservatives. I have heard the argument that it's easier to get donations out of polarized ideological citizens than centrist ones, but I find that hard to believe: surely there are more people who want responsible government than who want far-out policies.

I can't believe the talk about bringing down the government over this. Public backlash could be enormous to such a craven move. The only upside I see to the idea is that it would provide a fiscal stimulus, which the government seems loath to do.

Update: Great column by Adam Radwanski, says in part: ...what the Tories are proposing is fundamentally undemocratic. To scrap public funding without lifting the ban on corporate and union donations (and raising the cap on personal ones) means there's simply not enough money in this country for a multi-party system. The governing party might be able to cobble together enough to spend the limit during a campaign, but nobody else will.

1 comment:

Bert said...

Good post, Yappa. I find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with you. ;-)