04 October 2011

Loss of party subsidy is loss for democracy

Democracy is about political equality. To be democratic, a political system must in essence belong to all the people equally, and if it is to belong to all the people equally, all the people must fund it equally. One person/one dollar may not be as important as one person/one vote, but it is very important nonetheless—money does translate into votes.

The federal government's termination of the public subsidy to political parties will shift political power away from equality toward those with bigger purses, i.e. away from democracy toward plutocracy. This may be of little consequence to Conservatives because after all Conservatives believe in privilege, but it should be of considerable consequence to democrats.

The Conservatives are right in that we practice other ways of leveling the political playing field—banning of corporate contributions, tax breaks for contributions, limits on election spending, etc,—nonetheless the subsidy is an important tool in achieving greater political equality. Its loss will be a loss for democracy.

1 comment:

  1. They're not getting rid of ALL the party subsidies.

    They're keeping the ones that nets the Conservative Party the most money. They're getting rid of the one that is best for democracy.

    The CPC gets the most donations, and its donators get the most tax deductions from that. Or in other words, a significant percentage of CPC funds really comes from the government. Then they get to claim the Elections Canada rebate on the piles of cash that they spend. But you won't hear them talking about these subsidies.