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  ››  Pundits' Guide

Party Finance in the Wake of the 2011 General Election

May 26th, 2011

[Welcome, National Newswatch readers!]

With the last of the four recounts out of the way, the exit polls and academic post-mortems wrapped up for now, and various other items of post-election business analysis taken care of, we turn our attention back to …

… the money.

Of course, it's going to take some time to sort out how fundraising and spending shaped the parties successes and challenges in last month's election, but here are some of the milestones we'll be watching for:

  • Next Tuesday May 31, the parties' riding associations (aka "registered associations" aka "electoral district associations" or EDAs) must file their annual returns for 2010 with Elections Canada. As they get entered into the Elections Canada database and published to the website, we'll start to develop a picture of who had done a good job on pre-election fundraising. It's probably also an indicator of organizational depth and strength how quickly those get filed, and the fact that the Liberals were much slower than the other parties in filing a complete set of riding returns for 2009 should already have been an indicator that their grassroots had been left untended. (This is also a good reminder to me that it's high time I went back and completed my dataset of 2009 EDA returns, as well).
  • A month after that, the registered parties themselves have to file their own annual financial statements and fundraising reports for 2010 on June 30.
  • By the end of July, we'll also have the parties' second quarter 2011 fundraising reports to examine, which will show the rest of how they fared on the fundraising front during the recent election campaign.
  • Candidates have until four months from Election Day to file their financial returns, so we'll start to see those by early September.
  • The registered parties have until six months from Election Day to file their 2011 election returns, so we'll start to see those posted in November.
  • Meanwhile, the last quarterly allowance (aka "party political subsidy") payment based on the 2008 election will go out at the end of June. It will be increased based on the "inflation adjustment factor" of 1.165 announced last March in the Canada Gazette, and will therefore represent one-quarter of approximately $2.04/vote obtained in the 2008 election ($2.03875/vote, to be exact).
  • The first quarterly allowance payment based on the 2011 election would normally be paid at the end of October, and be based on one-quarter of $2.04/vote obtained in the 2011 election.

Some of you may have seen a certain someone's appearance with Don Martin on CTV Power Play yesterday to discuss the impact of the election on the per-vote democratic subsidy, and how Minister Flaherty's three-year phase-out proposal would affect each of the parties. Since part of that analysis got quoted on CTV.ca, and you may be interested in the calculations, I've reproduced them here, along with a long-needed update to the table of subsidy payments to the parties.

The bars with the black borders show the impact of the election on the annual subsidy payments, but under the current regime. The next three bars for each party show the impact of the declining payments expected to be proposed in the June 6 federal budget.

[Click on image to open full-sized version.]

Per-Vote Subsidy, Before and After 2011 Election, and under expected Budget 2011 proposal for Years 1-3

A reminder that the subsidy payments are calculated based on $2.00 or so until the end of March, 2011, and $2.04 thereafter, taking the announced inflation adjustment factor into account, and including the discounts apparently being proposed in the upcoming budget.

Party Lib NDP Grn BQ Cons
Votes-2008 3,633,185 2,515,288 937,613 1,379,991 5,209,069
Votes-2011 2,783,176 4,512,489 572,108 891,425 5,835,451
Subsidy – Before $7,279,994 $5,040,008 $1,878,742 $2,765,157 $10,437,672
Subsidy – After $5,674,200 $9,199,837 $1,166,385 $1,817,393 $11,897,026
Year 1 $4,255,650 $6,899,878 $874,789 $1,363,044 $8,922,769
Year 2 $2,837,100 $4,599,918 $583,193 $908,696 $5,948,513
Year 3 $1,418,550 $2,299,959 $291,596 $454,348 $2,974,256

I'm not clear whether the government's proposal for phasing out the subsidies will start this year (i.e., that the 75% would start in 2011-2012) or next, although I suspect the former. But if that is the case, then the bar with the black border for each party is the *hypothetical* amount they would have been entitled to receive after the 2011 election based on the number of votes they obtained and the current formula, including the already-announced inflation adjustment factor.

As you can see, in Year 1 of the government's plan only the NDP comes out ahead, then they break even more or less in Year 2, and lose actual dollars in Year 3. In a different take, blogger Greg Fingas (whom we've known up to now only as the mysterious "Jurist" behind the NDP blog "Accidental Deliberations, but who now has a weekly column with the Regina Leader-Post as well; congrats Greg) points out that the total per-vote funding over the three years of the Flaherty proposal pretty much amounts to the expected amount of each party's election spending less their expected rebates – meaning that party fundraising from this point forward can concentrate on supporting current operating expenses and setting aside funds for the next campaign.

Funding for the Bloc Québécois – often a sticking point for some Canadians – seems high until you realize that they still won 23% of the vote in Québec, obtaining the votes of some 890,000 Canadian citizens living there, even if that only earned the party 4 Commons seats this time around.

In fact the Bloc's situation exemplifies more generally the way the per-vote financing introduced a bit of proportionality into Canada's electoral system, as a counterbalance to the first-past-the-post (FPTP) method of electing representatives. In 2008, the Bloc obtained 1.3 million votes, representing 38% of the vote, which earned it 49 seats representing 65% of the ridings in Quebec. In 2011, the party lost 488,000 or so votes, yielding only 4 seats representing a mere 5% of the province's delegation to the House, in contrast to its 23% vote-share. Yet, the Bloc's public funding under the current system – as with that of any party – reflects the votes it obtained rather than the seats its candidates were able to win.

This shows the stickiness of the approach for parties perhaps on the way out, the reverse side of the higher barriers to entry for new parties trying to get off the ground. On the one hand, even some proponents of public funding might balk at extending $1.8 million dollars to a separatist party that had just been handed a massive defeat at the polls, at least in FPTP terms.

On the other hand, when talking about political parties in general, it meant that one bad election would not necessarily mean an execution for that party, but that valid political choices might be retained for possible future resurrection in at least one later election, however temporarily out of favour with the electorate.

Political parties do perform important roles in our electoral system, which are worth remembering:

  • They recruit and cultivate our country's political leaders and representatives, and as we've recently seen, that can be difficult to do well on a shoestring budget or with a regionally concentrated support base, something the Liberal Party may be learning the hard way the next time around.
  • They develop policy, and
  • They bridge gaps between different parts of the country, between different language and cultural communities, and between different interest groups.

These functions are an important part of our system of governance and must be performed well for the overall system to function at its best. Political parties are not simply social clubs, in other words, and we must consider how the various options for financing them will help or hurt those goals.

Some may worry that the proposed new financing regime will have the effect of turning them into pyramid sales organizations, and/or create too high a bar to entry for new choices, thereby entrenching the two largest current entities.

Others will worry that this move is only the first step to reintroducing big money into Canadian politics, whose voice would then drown out those of others who can't afford to participate on the same scale.

One thing is clear: the current and proposed set of democratic subsidies represent a modest expenditure in the federal budget, and provide a very cost-effective party system with plenty of political choice, as compared with the system used by our neighbours to the south. Here is the estimated total annual cost of the four kinds of democratic subsidies, in election versus non-election years:

  Non-Elxn Year Elxn Year
* Department of Finance, 2010 Evaluation of Tax Expenditures. Perhaps 250,000 Canadians contribute to a political party, riding association or candidate each year, and would benefit from the tax credit – IF they had a taxable income.
** Based on 2008 GE
*** Based on 2006 GE; latest figures available due to litigation re 2008 GE
NOTE: Party and Candidate rebate amounts are both included in the $300 million estimated cost of holding a general election.
Per-vote Subsidy $29,754,845 $29,754,845
Contribution Tax Credit* $21,000,000 $32,000,000
Party Elxn Rebates** $29,212,158
Candidate Elxn Rebates*** $24,595,606
TOTAL $50,754,845 $115,562,609

For comparison purposes, the cost of running the Senate of Canada, including over $800K for a Senate Ethics Officer, is $95M annually, while the cost of running the House of Commons, including the Library of Parliament and the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, is around $500M per year. The annual cost of running a small government department like the Department of Veterans Affairs, including Grants and Contributions, is $3.5 billion.

In my view, the government will need to justify how its current proposal will create a better democracy, because with the greater power they've acquired to impose their point of view on others, comes a greater responsibility to consider the Platonic goal of creating a more just republic, and not merely the Machiavellian objective of being more feared than loved. On the other hand, we cannot say they did not obtain a mandate for this policy, as the proposal was clearly outlined in their election platform.

Ideally I believe the political parties should all try to agree on the rules of engagement they will follow, and I can always hope this will be their modus operandi. But, for what it's worth, above are some of the considerations I think Canadians may want to mull over during the upcoming debate in the House of Commons on the government's proposal.

Below, you'll find an updated table of subsidy payments by quarter.

Annual Allowances to Registered Parties, by Payment Date, and projected forwarded according to current provisions of the Elections Act

Period Lib NDP Grn BQ Cons Paid
2011 – Q3* $1,418,550 $2,299,959 $291,596 $454,348 $2,974,256 01-Oct-11
2011 – Q2 $1,851,789 $1,282,011 $477,890 $703,364 $2,654,997 02-Jul-11
2011 – Q1 $1,819,999 $1,260,002 $469,686 $691,289 $2,609,418 01-Apr-11
 
2010 – Q4 $1,819,999 $1,260,002 $469,686 $691,289 $2,609,418 04-Jan-11
2010 – Q3 $1,819,999 $1,260,002 $469,686 $691,289 $2,609,418 01-Oct-10
2010 – Q2 $1,819,999 $1,260,002 $469,686 $691,289 $2,609,418 02-Jul-10
2010 – Q1 $1,815,230 $1,256,701 $468,455 $689,478 $2,602,581 01-Apr-10
 
2009 – Q4 $1,815,230 $1,256,701 $468,455 $689,478 $2,602,581 04-Jan-10
2009 – Q3 $1,815,230 $1,256,701 $468,455 $689,478 $2,602,581 01-Oct-09
2009 – Q2 $1,815,230 $1,256,701 $468,455 $689,478 $2,602,581 02-Jul-09
2009 – Q1 $1,773,903 $1,228,089 $457,790 $673,781 $2,543,328 01-Apr-09
 
2008 – Q4 $2,187,074 $1,264,370 $324,231 $758,350 $2,623,890 05-Jan-09
2008 – Q3 $2,187,074 $1,264,370 $324,231 $758,350 $2,623,890 02-Oct-08
2008 – Q2 $2,187,074 $1,264,370 $324,231 $758,350 $2,623,890 03-Jul-08
2008 – Q1 $2,140,040 $1,237,179 $317,258 $742,041 $2,567,462 07-Apr-08
 
2007 – Q4 $2,140,040 $1,237,179 $317,258 $742,041 $2,567,462 03-Jan-08
2007 – Q3 $2,140,040 $1,237,179 $317,258 $742,041 $2,567,462 02-Oct-07
2007 – Q2 $2,140,040 $1,237,179 $317,258 $742,041 $2,567,462 05-Jul-07
2007 – Q1 $2,096,926 $1,212,255 $310,867 $727,092 $2,515,737 04-Apr-07
 
2006 – Q4 $2,096,926 $1,212,255 $310,867 $727,092 $2,515,737 05-Jan-07
2006 – Q3 $2,096,926 $1,212,255 $310,867 $727,092 $2,515,737 04-Oct-06
2006 – Q2 $2,096,926 $1,212,255 $310,867 $727,092 $2,515,737 07-Jul-06
2006 – Q1 $2,282,186 $974,374 $266,686 $769,708 $1,841,145 06-Apr-06
 
2005 – Q4 $2,282,186 $974,374 $266,686 $769,708 $1,841,145 01-Jan-06
2005 – Q3 $2,282,186 $974,374 $266,686 $769,708 $1,841,145 01-Oct-05
2005 – Q2 $2,282,186 $974,374 $266,686 $769,708 $1,841,145 01-Jul-05
2005 – Q1 $2,240,772 $956,692 $261,847 $755,740 $1,807,734 01-Apr-05
 
2004 – Q4 $0 $956,692 $261,847 $322,846 $0.00 07-Jan-05
2004 – Q3 ($49,646) $12,958 $261,847 $0 ($563,630) 07-Oct-04
2004 – All $9,191,054 $1,914,269   $2,411,022 $8,476,872 01-Jan-04

67 Responses to “Party Finance in the Wake of the 2011 General Election”

  1. Henry says:

    “the government will need to justify … ”

    The arguments presented here in defence of Chretien’s offensive subsidy-per-vote scheme are entirely wrong-headed.

    Democracy, if it is to mean anything, ought to at least mean that one is not compelled by force to financially support the promotion of political beliefs one abhors.

    The current scheme corrupts the electoral system in numerous ways both large and small such as:
    1) Only ‘big’ parties are eligible. Anyone who votes for a candidate representing a minor party has his/her tax money siphoned off to pay for Liberal, NDP, etc. propaganda
    2) Independent candidates have the playing field tilted decidedly against them. Even if an independent wins (as Andre Arthur did in 2006 and 2008), then those voters have their money directed to parties they did not support
    3) Our electoral system is about elections — that is, in determining the individuals who will represent us in our representative democracy. It is a fundamental corruption of that system to force voters to have their ballot box choices to mean two things — that is, not only who will represent them, but also which party bigwigs get their hand on tax money. I have on occasion voted for a candidate despite not particularly liking the party he/she was allied with.

    While I respect much of the work that punditsguide does at this site, in this case she is off the mark. In this case she has allied herself with anti-freedom, anti-democratic authoritarians.

  2. Shadow says:

    Parties may serve important functions but the public has become annoyed at their behaviour.

    Money seems to go to image consultants, spin doctors, and endless attack ads.

    And its all cost without value. Unlike something like policy research there’s nothing of lasting importance created.

    My policy preference:

    Scrap the per vote subsidy, scrap the donation subsidy, and scrap the spending rebates.

    Keep the donation cap low but eliminate any spending caps.

    (Less money in the system but more freedom to effectively target swing ridings)

    Then focus on individual control instead of party control.

    Give every candidate on the ballot an equal, small sum to pay for advertising.

  3. Hi Henry, and sorry I missed your comment in moderation until now.

    No-one is “compelled by force” to financially support the promotion of political beliefs he abhors. With the notable but minor exception you point out (the less than 1% who support small parties and Independents), each person gets to direct that amount to the party he or she supports. Government as an enterprise by definition supports some things we all support and oppose – this is the compromise of living in a democratic society – but no other program I can think of is as individually directed as that one.

    I fully acknowledge that there are differing philosophical approaches to party finance, and that’s why I’ve said that the supporters of each one ought to explain how their approach best meets the goal of a better democracy, and helps the political parties meet their role in it.

    You are certainly right on in terms of the financing regime currently faced by Independent candidates. In my preferred approach, the Commons Procedures and House Affairs Committee would convene some hearings on the overhaul of all the financing provisions of the Elections Act that the Chief Elections Officer suggested looking at last year in his report, and consider them all as a package – these issues included.

    However, I think we’d have to disagree that it’s anything like a “fundamental corruption of [the electoral] system to force voters to have their ballot box choices … mean two things”. In fact, I think a vote means multiple things in our system and always has. One simultaneously votes for an individual representative, a national leader, a party platform in general, or a particular policy, and other times one is voting a certain government out.

    At this site I try to understand the philosophical positions behind all points of view in our political system, and present them all fairly. But I will always tend towards supporting those policies which promote greater participation in our system. Freedom is expensive, and not everyone can afford to participate as freely as others. So, we might need to respectfully disagree on that philosophical underpinning, for sure.

    As for Shadow, if you think you could pitch that decentralized free-for-all to the Prime Minister, I’d believe it when I saw it ! ;-)

  4. Adam says:

    “Democracy, if it is to mean anything, ought to at least mean that one is not compelled by force to financially support the promotion of political beliefs one abhors.”

    I don’t know anyone who holds that view. People who don’t support the war in Afghanistan are still required to fund the military. People who don’t support socialised health care are still required to fund our medical system. Etc. A big part of liberal democracy is the agreement to help pay for things *even if* you disagree with them. Otherwise we may as well just scrap government entirely or make taxes voluntary.

  5. Henry says:

    You may not be surprised to hear that I entirely disagree with your responses.

    “less than 1%”. That is not a particularly democratic position — that people can be exploited by a skewed system as long as it is a minority that is exploited.

    Convening hearings to consider the problem of independent candidates isn’t much of an answer. The problem is inherent in the contradiction that we *vote* for candidates but some separate entity (an entity that doesn’t exist for independents) gets taxpayer money as a result.

    ” In fact, I think a vote means multiple things ”

    No. Prior to Chretien’s scheme, our vote meant exactly one thing. Multiple factors might *inform* a voter’s decision, but the actual legal outcome of the vote was one thing.

    “that’s why I’ve said that the supporters of each one ought to explain”

    Except that in this piece you put the onus on the government to defend its proposal. While Chretien’s system (implemented contrary to the objections of the PCs and CA at the time) apparently needs no defence.

    ” Freedom is expensive”

    Freedom is to be valued, but the subsidy-per-vote scheme is a violation of Canadians’ freedom to financially support (or not) political parties as they choose.

    “Government as an enterprise by definition supports some things we all support and oppose – this is the compromise of living in a democratic society”

    Indeed. But surely it matters what those things are, otherwise the value of freedom is entirely eclipsed by mob rule.

    Suppose someone were to consider giving churches (but only big churches) a cash subsidy from government revenue — based on average Sunday attendance.

    People would be outraged — and quite rightly so. Individuals should not have money that has been confiscated from them handed out to promote particular world views.

  6. Adam says:

    “People would be outraged — and quite rightly so. Individuals should not have money that has been confiscated from them handed out to promote particular world views.”

    Virtually all laws promote a particular world view. A public police force promotes the view that preventing and punishing crimes is important. A public education system promotes the view that we should teach children. A public health care system promotes the view that everyone ought to have access to medical services. In fact, this is more or less the purpose of government – to promote (sometimes through force) particular world views at the expense of others.

  7. Henry says:

    Adam,

    Do you really not see a difference in kind?

    In which case, is there no principled objection to the hypothetical subsidy-based-on-church-attendance scheme?

    Would the answer simply be: tough?

    I don’t find that to be an acceptable answer. Your position appears to collapse all other principles and leave only “might makes right”.

  8. Hi again, Henry. Let’s see if I can address some of your rejoinders.

    I think “exploited” is a pretty strong term to use to describe the situation where a tiny minority cannot benefit from a particular government initiative valued at $2/voter. But where to draw the line is always a judgment call, I’ll agree.

    The hearings I was proposing be convened to consider an overhaul of the Elections Act party finance provisions were intended to be much more comprehensive, but the topic of Independent candidates I agree is a significant issue to be considered amongst the others.

    As to singular vs multiple meanings of a vote, sounds like we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    As to the onus on a Government to defend a proposal it makes to the House of Commons, well yes. In fact any member making a proposal for adoption by the House of Commons has an onus to defend it. Now, I would agree that Prime Minister Chretien did not proceed by consensus either when he introduced the current regime, and I believe that’s at least part of the irritant in it, though I acknowledge that much of the rest is philosophical (and some, again, machiavellian). But two wrongs doesn’t make a right, in that regard. In the last set of Elections Act amendments I was peripherally involved in, back in 2000, the parties proceeded more or less by agreement (or at least to the extent I could tell from my vantage point at the time), and that’s the approach I’ve always advocated here.

    Whether funding violates freedom depends heavily on both one’s perspective and philosophy, as well as one’s (financial) capacity to freely participate. This is a major question that distinguishes the two major philosophical streaks in our political culture, I fully concede, and it sounds like you and I might not wind up on the same side of that question very often.

    Anyway, I think Adam has taken up the other perspective very well, so I’ll defer to him to carry on, but nevertheless thank you for the thoughtful explanation of your point of view Henry. Differing points of view, sincerely presented, are a gift and one that’s most appreciated.

  9. George Pringle says:

    As Herb Gray used to say “I don’t accept the premise of your question”. Canada’s politics has taken the first step to becoming more efficient in its path to a two party system which mirrors the big divide of political thought. Those who believe that the right of the individual trumps the right of the collective and vice-versa.
    More voices are merely noise when they just repeat a theme being spoken by one of the big two.
    The Liberals will split go toward the party that shares each individuals beliefs.
    The BQ will go away when the money goes away.
    The Greens and other “alternate voices” that don’t have 12 seats in the House are unimportant. Without the ability to concentrate most of that subsidy money on one riding, May is likely to be one term wonder.
    After the next election, voters and members will deliver the death blow to the Libs, BQ and Green parties. The antics of all the apparatchiks or pundits in the minor parties will not stop them.

  10. Well, whether you’re right or not, George, this prediction of yours will live on in cyberspace to either haunt you or vaunt you in four years time! ;-) Nice to hear from you again. In fact nice to see everyone survived the campaign, and is getting caught up on their sleep. Welcome back, all.

  11. Henry says:

    I would add one further note regarding the “democratic society ” argument:

    If one is to take the position that a measure imposed upon Canadians is just simply because a majority of MPs supported it, and that it needs no further philosophical or moral justification …

    … then one should observe that a majority of MPs in the House will vote to remove that imposition shortly.

    To listen to some, you’d think a majority of MPs have a right to impose things upon the populace but that a later majority cannot be allowed to remove that imposition.

    I will note moreover, that in the election we just completed, Conservative MPs explicitly ran on a platform of removing the subsidy.

    Chretien and his gang had not similarly run on a platform of imposing the measure on Canadians.

    If we are to speak in terms of democratic mandate, it seems inescapable that removal of the subsidy is on much firmer democratic ground.

    The people have spoken. The government does not need to “justify” this measure to authoritarians attempting to keep their arbitrary measures in force.

  12. Shadow says:

    The Conservatives get the most party subsidy dollars and they spend the most on attack ads.

    I’m amazed people don’t see the obvious, obnoxious connection. Get political ads off my tv and spend the money on health care!

    The opposition certainly got the picture when they pushed through the removal of those 5 percenters.

    That move was to their relative benefit, this move is to their relative harm.

    All parties move to satisify their tactical interests and ignore Alice’s suggestion that they compromise.

  13. Adam says:

    “Adam,

    Do you really not see a difference in kind?

    In which case, is there no principled objection to the hypothetical subsidy-based-on-church-attendance scheme?”

    I’ve not defended the current scheme at all. My point was simply that your stated logic rules out virtually all current functions of the state. I can, and often do, disagree with the actions of various governments that are nonetheless adopted in a perfectly democratic manner. Just because something is unwise doesn’t mean it’s undemocratic.

  14. Henry says:

    Adam,

    Let me put it another way: Do you think the hypothetical church subsidy would violate Canadians’ religious freedoms? I would argue that it would, because it violates what should be our right to not be forced into such funding.

    In a similar way, I would argue that the subsidy-per-vote scheme by its very nature violates our democratic rights.

  15. Shadow says:

    Adam the courts can and often do limit government action that infringes on the fundemental rights of Canadians.

    That is the difference in kind you are missing.

    Government financing of any political party is essentially the promotion of a set of ideas.

    Would you be upset if the government purchased 30 million in advertising on our televisions to promote pro-life messages ?

    Freedom of expression and democracy means we all get to express our views and the government stays neutral. If the government supports one view then it drowns out the other views.

    That’s the perfectly valid philisophical objection to party financing that’s being raised here.

    (As opposed to say not liking the war in Afghanistan. That doesn’t have any effect on your fundenmental rights. A draft on the other hand …)

  16. Barcs says:

    “Whether funding violates freedom depends heavily on both one’s perspective and philosophy, as well as one’s (financial) capacity to freely participate. This is a major question that distinguishes the two major philosophical streaks in our political culture, I fully concede, and it sounds like you and I might not wind up on the same side of that question very often.”

    Huh??

    You think there is a wealth of people who don’t have their own $2… they have to use yours or mine?? Many people spend more on coffee in a single day. And in the poorest among us… you don’t think that out of the thousands that are handed them to help them out that they cannot find $2/yr to push for something as important to them as their opinions on how the entire country should be run?

    Not having the money is a BS argument. And that the subsidy was only $2 a person would seem to show that people …. anybody…. can participate and influence with any amount of money better than anything else I have read anywhere.

    People spend far more on far less important things. Let them have their own choice,and spend their own money on this.

  17. Barcs, philosophically you have no problem with the idea of my tax dollars paying for your tax credit so you can contribute to your party, but you object to a system that allocates $2 of everyone’s tax dollars to the party of their choice? I’m not seeing how that is philosophically consistent.

  18. Ken Summers says:

    On what Greg Fingas brings up in Accidental Deliberations that you linked above:

    The Liberals said they came out of the election with no campaign debt. Even if that isnt 100% true, it is consistent with how they have run their finances [back to that]. The bottom dropping out of quaterly direct financing payments was never going to effect that [for reasons we will see].

    The NDP, like the Conservatives, habitually accumulates a large campaign debt, and both pay it down because they habitually produce substantial non-election time operating surpluses. [Which the Liberals also did until 2006, and used to be the norm for all parties.]

    The NDP took considerably longer I think than was planned to pay down the 2008 campaign debt. But the sudden surge in both fundraising and public financing will no doubt do the opposite this time… with campaign debt paid down before public financing gross numbers drop below where they are now.

    The Greens said before they were not going into campaign debt at all. They would have been positioned well if they had even come close to maintaining their vote share. But a considerable drop in vote share was both predictable and predicted. Given the election result, they were in very dire financial straights even if the party financing was not eliminated.

    The reason the Liberals came out of the 2008 election with a small campaign debt [which still took them 2 years to eliminate], and zero or virually zero campaign debt this time, is because they are utterly unable to produce consistent operating surpluses in non-election times when parties are supposed to be bulking up.

    The Liberals problem was never just their lacklustre fundraising. Their bloated administrative structure sucked up the modest fundraising improvements. They had a 4 year running internal debate on trimming that, because it would require clipping the wings of the provincial organizations [the PTAs].

    No more debate on that one. They have no choice left but to utterly demolish the existing structure. Replacing it will put that much more strain and distraction on their renewal process.

  19. Barcs says:

    I don’t remember saying that we should keep the tax credits (nor did I voice appreciation for the rebates for that matter).

    Quite the contrary, I agree with shadow. Get rid of the whole kitten-kaboodle.

    “Scrap the per vote subsidy, scrap the donation subsidy, and scrap the spending rebates.”

    Now I do subscribe to the notion that the rebates, and the tax credits are less bad for democracy than the subsidy… But less bad does not equal good. Ideally it would all disappear… but failing that, doing away with the worst part is atleast a step in the right direction.

    Let the parties (and their ideas) stand or fall on their merits, and therefore the people willing to step up and support them.

    Subsidizing something that cannot compete only serves to keep something afloat, keep it around, when it would otherwise be renewed or replaced with something else.

  20. Justin says:

    I’m completely taken aback that there are actually people that think the per vote subsidy is the government taking their tax money. That’s incoherent. There isn’t a Canadian that voted that didn’t pay at least $2 in federal taxes, that makes that $2 the most directed money you give to the federal government.

    Even if you didn’t vote then your $2 just goes to the general revenues. It’s literally the most fair scheme that is imaginable.

  21. Art Cramer says:

    @Barcs:

    “Let the parties (and their ideas) stand or fall on their merits, and therefore the people willing to step up and support them.

    Subsidizing something that cannot compete only serves to keep something afloat, keep it around, when it would otherwise be renewed or replaced with something else.”

    There is only one problem with that reasoning. It implies that in life this is what acutally happens. Ever heard of “old-money”? How do you think it got that way? If we really lived in a world where the government wasn’t trying to prop up already old interests, I would buy you argument. But we have and never will.

    If providing the 2 dollar subsidy does somthing to counter these other forces supporting the establishment, I am all for it. You want to do something about encouraging growth, innovation and renewal, start with the tax system and protection of Captial Gains.

    Arthur Cramer, Winnipeg

  22. Shadow says:

    Justin there was A LOT of people who voted who didn’t pay $2 in federal taxes.

    First off anyone who makes lower than the basic personal exemption doesn’t pay any taxes (ie. anyone not currently working for whatever reason.)

    Also a single parent with 2 kids making $30,000 or less pays ZERO tax and actually gets $2,500 a year. (That’s the example given in the OECD’s latest report on wage taxation for negative taxation in Canada.)

    Even of those who do pay taxes the better measure is whether you use more government services than you pay for.

    A Quebec voter is probably getting their $2 bucks payed for by an Albertan voter.

    Regardless all this money is fungible and isn’t “directed” at all. Its general government revenue.

  23. Shadow says:

    Art Cramer the party subsidy defends old money and old interests.

    Imagine it was in place after the 1988 election.

    Mulroney would have been at 12% in the polls and getting millions yet the far and way more popular upstart Reform and BQ parties would be getting $0 because they hadn’t yet fought an election.

    New parties just can’t compete fairly with the old parties under the per vote subsidy.

  24. Carbolic says:

    “Scrap the per vote subsidy, scrap the donation subsidy, and scrap the spending rebates.”

    “Let the parties (and their ideas) stand or fall on their merits, and therefore the people willing to step up and support them.”

    I am baffled by this argument.

    The per-vote subsidy does exactly what you are suggesting: it allows parties to stand and fall based on whether people are willing to step up and support them (by voting for them).

    By contrast, your proposed plan (kill all subsidies/rebates) does not meet your stated goal. It only guarantees support for parties whose supporters are both willing AND able to make donations. It would allow parties to stand and fall based on whether their supporters have enough money to support them, not based only on the merits of their ideas.

  25. Shadow says:

    Carbolic we live in one of the richest countries on earth and there is a ridiculously generous tax rebate for political giving. There’s also a donation cap and a union and corporate ban to make sure the focus is on many small donors.

    If a party can’t raise funds its not because its supporters don’t have the money to do so, its because its not a very popular party.

    Also the notion that the per vote subsidy allows parties to compete evenly has been disproven above.

    New parties are at a financial disadvantage compared to old parties because they have not run in previous elections.

    This entrenches the old interests and prevents new grass roots parties from standing or falling on their merits.

  26. Carbolic says:

    “Carbolic we live in one of the richest countries on earth and there is a ridiculously generous tax rebate for political giving.”

    So what? Wealth in our country is not distributed evenly. There are plenty of people would love to have money to spare to fatten their local political party’s wallet, but have to focus on their own needs first.

    And you are arguing against the tax rebate, remember?

    “If a party can’t raise funds its not because its supporters don’t have the money to do so, its because its not a very popular party. ”

    This is simply not true. If you make $14,000 a year you are simply not in the same position to make political donations as someone who makes $50,000 a year.

    The fact is, if you really wanted parties to live and die on their merits, you would support a system that minimized factors (such as income distribution) that had nothing to do with the merits of a party, and maximized factors (such as who supports the party, for instance by voting for it) that most closely reflected the merits of the party.

    “Also the notion that the per vote subsidy allows parties to compete evenly has been disproven above.

    New parties are at a financial disadvantage compared to old parties because they have not run in previous elections.

    This entrenches the old interests and prevents new grass roots parties from standing or falling on their merits.”

    And yet the Greens managed their big 2004 upswing just fine…

    In any case this argument goes to the implementation of the concept, it doesn’t show that the concept is bad itself. Perhaps to reflect changes in sentiment you’d do a yearly subsidy vote. Cumbersome, but more fair. Or give an enhanced subsidy to a new party that wins its first by-election. I can think of other possible schemes, all of which would do a better job of rewarding parties based on their merits rather than the depth of their supporters’ pockets.

  27. Shadow says:

    Carbolic the facts don’t match what you’re saying.

    Before the 2011 election the CPC had the most popular support and raised the most money, the LPC had the second most support and raised the second most money, NDP was 3rd and 3rd …

    This despite the fact the average Liberal vote is more educated and more wealthy than the average Conservative voter.

    Income distribution, therefore, does not seem to determine levels of giving. Popular support does.

    “And yet the Greens managed their big 2004 upswing just fine…”

    You’re arguing that money matters in politics remember ? This point suggests it doesn’t.

    But its a logical fallacy. We don’t actually know whether the Green vote would have been even greater if the old parties weren’t getting millions and millions.

  28. Barcs says:

    I still cannot understand how someone can simultaneously argue that people cannot participate because they don’t have enough money,…. And that the subsidy can do it for them….for the cost of a chocolate bar… a year.

    Once again I put it to you that the money argument… is a BS argument. As long as big business (and big union) is prevented from controlling thorough donations. And personal donations are capped. EVERYBODY can participate monetarily. And on top of that there is much that a person can do that doesn’t require you to put $$$ forward.

    .

    “But its a logical fallacy. We don’t actually know whether the Green vote would have been even greater if the old parties weren’t getting millions and millions.”

    A good point. How would the greens have done in 04 (their big jump) if we hadn’t given 25 or so million to the other parties and nothing to the greens??

    If the NDP had had the 9 million per year they get now instead of the 5 million/year they were awarded a month ago how would that have changed this past election?? What if the Bloc got 1.7 million instead of 2.5?

    That “old money” of the subsidy is affecting how the next election goes… as opposed to the parties as they exist today with today’s ideas, parties, and volunteers affecting today’s election.

  29. Barcs says:

    “The per-vote subsidy does exactly what you are suggesting: it allows parties to stand and fall based on whether people are willing to step up and support them (by voting for them).”

    No it doesn’t. It asks people who pay taxes to offer up (more) money to people they don’t support. Now I understand that is the basis of every government program.

    But it shouldn’t be the basis of how people are chosen to lead. An idea has to have some support, not just clicking “like” on facebook. That can be done without a single seconds thought. How strong is the commitment to the ideal? no work or thought involved?? And you want someone else to pay for it for you??

    Let me say that again for you “Someone else to pay for it”. In both the US and Canada the bottom 50% of taxpayers pay only a couple percent of the income taxes. There are only a handful of Canadians that actually pay more in taxes than they get back in services. That means that most voters don’t number among them.

    That means that most voters are using other peoples money instead of donating their own $2… about a chocolate bar a year to the party of their choice.

    .

    “There are plenty of people would love to have money to spare to fatten their local political party’s wallet, but have to focus on their own needs first.”

    Everyone has their own focus and their own needs…. Why shouldn’t we do away with the $2/vote subsidy, give it back to people and let them decide who and what their priorities are?? Let political parties compete for your dollar like everything else.

  30. Carbolic says:

    [Shadow:]
    “Carbolic the facts don’t match what you’re saying.

    Before the 2011 election the CPC had the most popular support and raised the most money, the LPC had the second most support and raised the second most money, NDP was 3rd and 3rd ?”

    Yet if you look at the actual numbers beyond “1st, 2nd, 3rd” you’ll find that in 2010 (based on the quarterly reports) Con/Lib/NDP raised $17.4M/$6.6M/$4.4M. That is $3.34 for every Con vote, $1.82 for every Lib vote, and $1.73 for every NDP vote in the previous general election. A wildly disproportionate result.

    But 2010 wasn’t an election year, you say? OK. In 2008, Con/Lib/NDP raised $21.2/$5.8/$5.4M. That is $4.07 for every Con vote, $1.60 for every Lib vote and $2.15 for every NDP vote in the general election of that year.

    The facts match what I’m saying all too well. Party donations are disproportionate to the support enjoyed for those parties’ ideas.

    By the way, guess which of those three parties had the highest average median household income in the ridings it represented, both before and after the current election. Hint: it’s the same party that got a disproportionately large amount of donations compared to votes.

    [Barcs:]
    “EVERYBODY can participate monetarily.”

    Everybody _cannot_ participate monetarily to the degree they would like. It is that simple. Do you honestly think that someone on social assistance, or a college student, can afford to make the same maxed-out contribution as a bank CEO can? Even assuming they did make such a donation, they would be sacrificing immensely more of their quality of life than a bank CEO would to make the same $1000 donation.

    “An idea has to have some support, not just clicking ‘like’ on facebook. That can be done without a single seconds thought.”

    This argument could be applied to voting itself. “An idea has to have some support, not just checking ‘X’ on a piece of paper. That can be done without a single seconds thought.” God forbid participating in democracy be easy!

    “Let political parties compete for your dollar like everything else.”

    Three days ago you said “Let the parties (and their ideas) stand or fall on their merits.” Now you want them to “compete for your dollar.”

    The problem is that it’s a lot easier to compete for someone’s money when they have lots of it already. I have posted cold hard numbers (above) that show that parties do not raise money in proportion to the electoral support they receive. A system based on individual donations reflects the will of donors, not voters.

    If you believe the system should reward ability and inclination to pay political parties that “compete for your dollar,” _rather_ than reward support for those parties’ ideas, that’s your right. But you can’t have it both ways.

  31. Shadow says:

    Carbolic measuring the median income of a riding represented is pointless when the CPC are winning urban ridings with a plurality. You don’t know which 35% of the population they’re drawing from.

    A better measure would be to check out EKOS polling which has a cross tab for support by education level.

    We know that education level tracks with income level.

    And we know that the CPC has the least educated voter pool and the LPC the most.

    Clearly income is NOT the determinative factor in fundraising.

    So while votes and funding might not be in exact preportion they are correlated. This makes sense, popularity could reach stages or involve some kind of exponential growth pattern instead of expecting a linear measurement like you’re doing.

    Carbonic everybody can afford to make $1.95 contribution a year.

    Unless you’re arguing that the per vote subsidy needs to be vastly enriched.

    However, since both the rich and the poor get to vote it doesn’t do nearly as much to even the playing field as you’re suggesting.

    If you want to lower the yearly contribution limits to $500 or $200 i’m all for it !

  32. Barcs says:

    “The facts match what I’m saying all too well. Party donations are disproportionate to the support enjoyed for those parties’ ideas.”

    Which is exactly the point…. not everyone values the ideas the same… so the funding is disproportionate. People have chosen their priorities, but you want to make them moot and have (others) donate an equal amount to the other parties who seem to get less support from peoples priorities.

    .

    “sacrificing immensely more of their quality of life than a bank CEO would to make the same $1000 donation.”

    Which is exactly the problem with the welfare state. I have no trouble subsidizing your food bill, or minimal accommodations, water, power, healthcare, etc. But I do have a problem subsidizing people the same level of life quality I enjoy. I worked hard for me and my family to make it. You are not “entitled” to my lifestyle unless you have put in the time and energy I did to get to it. I will (out of the goodness of my heart) subsidize your subsistence, not your big screen tv. You are not “entitled” to more unless it is offered.

    .

    “An idea has to have some support, not just checking ‘X’ on a piece of paper. That can be done without a single seconds thought.”

    … people do, and that is a good reason to do away with a free $2 giveaway. And people don’t….. but you want to give away some of their money too to a simple checkmark some of them with no thought.

    .

    “I have posted cold hard numbers (above) that show that parties do not raise money in proportion to the electoral support they receive.”

    In other words, some parties have been more successful? Some parties have worked harder? Some parties have found and worked on and put forth ideas that people support enough that they are willing to make that idea a priority in their spending.

    ….. that is so unfair. The other guys are obviously just as entitled to my dollar as the ones that I support!!

  33. Barcs says:

    “If you believe the system should reward ability and inclination to pay political parties that “compete for your dollar,” _rather_ than reward support for those parties’ ideas, that’s your right. But you can’t have it both ways.”

    Can’t have it both ways?? By definition these 2 should be the exact same thing. Either it is a priority to you, and you will divert some of your funds…. or it is not, and you won’t.

    Why does the middle “I support it, but it isn’t important enough for me to invest in” become an entitlement to invest someone else’s money in the idea??

  34. Art Cramer says:

    @Shadow:

    You are purposely or otherwise misrepresenting my statements. Who do you think is funding the Tories and the Libs? You know full well that this money is coming from established corporate and private interests. I know you know that, so don’t even try to deny it. And I know that you knew that was the point I was trying to make. You simply decided to twist my arguments to suit your fancy. If I want to read fantasy, I’ll buy a Harry Potter book.

    Why is it there is never a word from you guys when it comes to the forces that allow this old money to influence the political and economic discussions in this country. You know full well that this money goes in large amount to the Tories, and lesser amounts to the Libs, as well as so called, right wing “think tanks”, such as the CD Howe and Fraser Institutes. The goverment through its refusal to do anything about the coupon-clippers who earn their money through unproductive capital gains, and other investments significantly impact the infusion of money efficiently into the economy while also increasingly concentrating capital in the hands of fewer and fewer Canadians. More importantly, it allows the powerful and infuletial to manipulate public opinio through the deliberate infusion of misinformation fed to the public by these so-called academically inspired, “think tanks”.

    I am really getting tired of your mindless and ceasless libetarian diatribes. Between you and Barcs, it is a wonder there is any kind of discussion here at all.

    I am certain that you would be singing a different tune if these circumstances weren’t working to your advantage. No, I’ll go further, I have no doubt you would be saying something different.

    So stow your faux outrage, and pseudo-libetarian argument. Its getting tiresome.

    Arthur Cramer, Winnipeg

  35. George Pringle says:

    For those who always look at issues like this as if there is some principle involved. Chretien had one main goal when he pushed through C-24 that limited corporate, union and individual donations to $5000 – to cripple Paul Martin so he would not profit for his plotting against him.

    I attended every committee hearing of this Bill and for every vote the three pro-Martin MPs were replaced by Chretien loyalists every time that the committee voted. No principle involved just politics.

    It is the same now as the Conservatives know the Liberals cannot reform themselves and there are too many insiders who personally profit from the their current system that will block changes that effect their profit. The ND will sputter in outrage but they won’t really try to stop subsidies from being canceled.

    BTW – it was the Conservatives that removed corporate and union donations despite some who believe the evil corporations control everything.

  36. Shadow says:

    Art Cramer you may need to go take a look at just who’s funding the Tories. There is actualy data on this.

    Loads of small donors giving small amounts, that’s who.

    You don’t seem to be aware that there are champagne socialists supporting the NDP. Or people like Soros or American foundatios supporting think tanks and movements in Canada too.

    This narrative of big bad rich Tories vs the little guy NDP is naive and not supported by the facts.

    We’re not in an epic class struggle where people choose to believe what benefits them personally.

    That’s a cynical and bad faith view of Canadians.

    Left and right ideologies exists amongst all income classes because people of any station have a genuine belief that their political philosophy has the best chance at advancing society as a whole.

    As for your comment that Barcs and I support a fundraising scheme that benefits our party you’ll notice that we also support removing the donation subsidy as well which would hurt the CPC more than anyone else.

  37. Art Cramer says:

    Shaddow:

    You and Barcs are simply playing loosey-gooesy semantical games. You know full well that eliminating the subsidy will only benefit the Tories.

    The last thing you guys are motivated by is some idea of fair play and competition. Your stance is completely self serving, and there are plenty of people including myself who simply don’t buy what you are selling.

    Knock off the disingenouous rhetoric.

    Arthur Cramer, Winnipeg

  38. Art Cramer says:

    Shadow and Barcs:

    I retract my last comment posted at 1 June, 6:52 PM. Sorry, that was just too over the top.

    My apologies.

    Arthur Cramer, Winnipeg

    PS: I still don’t think getting rid of the subsidy is a good idea, regardless of why Chretien did anything. Though I will agree, you would really have to go a very long way for me to agree that Chretien would actually do anything, especially while he was PM, with the best of intentions. I am sorry, thinkig otherwise concerning that man, would be too over the top as well! Lol.

  39. The entitlement for political parties unamiously created by the Chretin Liberals in 2004 is the “best” solution according to the pundits that feel their party is going to be adversely affected.

    The elimination of this subsidy will push old parties to improve their fundraising and realign their priorities including staffing. Political parties already have other schemes to fund themselves.

    A 36 day campaign does not need to funnel an additional $30m p/yr to protect our democracy.

    The CPC success is replicatable. It will require hard work to add thousands of new donors to each party. Relevancy for political parties benefits everyone.

  40. Ken Summers says:

    I dont think it matters in terms of the substantive issues, but I’m going to put in a word of defence for the old man.

    Chretien did what he did for a legacy, and because he has enough hubris to think that the Liberal Party would get over the disadvantages to it.

    Thats called leadership. Is there a lot of vanity and arrogance in the mix? Of course. Who becomes leaders of parties?

    He set a course, and set in motion broad consultations.

    I’m sure he thoroughly enjoyed the fact the Martinites fought him. But that doesn’t mean he set the whole thing in motion to screw them.

  41. Ken Summers says:

    Regardless of the substantive merits of the different approaches to funding- Jean Chretien wins hands down over Stephen Harper on process.

    Would Stephen Harper ever bring in a major change that disadvanteaged the Conservative Party? Not that I expect that, but credit given where it is due.

    And does Stephen Harper or the Conservative Party ask anyone else for their input on changes contemplated?

  42. Shadow says:

    Whoa Ken lets remember the context. A lot of these moves were penance for the sponsorship scandal which happened in Chretien’s backyard.

    I could only imagine if a scandal erupted involving Alberta’s top fixers and insiders. Harper wouldn’t be seen in public again regardless of whether he was connected to it or not.

    So lets not suggest that Chretien came out of his time at PM smelling like roses – there’s a good deal of manure in the air too.

    I think we can all agree that THIS was a disgusting attack on democracy and should prompt universal condemnation:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/stop-harper-placard-gets-senate-page-turfed-from-throne-speech/article2046548/

  43. Art Cramer says:

    Shaddow, if you mean that removing the Page was disgusting, I agree.

    Arthur Cramer, Winnipeg

  44. Barcs says:

    Removing the page was disgusting??

    Huh? How can you have so much condemnation for your perception of Harper’s contempt of parliament.

    And then show disdain for removing someone who actually displays contempt for parliament rather than the act of contempt she committed?

    There is a time and place for protest, and a supposedly non-partisan page on the opening of parliament (in parliament) is not the place.

    A simple firing didn’t go far enough. And it it unfortunately won’t stop people with an (irrational) hatred of a man from claiming that (real) contempt of parliament is ok… because they agree with the intent of it.

  45. Shadow says:

    Art the double standard here is mind boggling.

    This woman is in contempt of parliament.

    We’ve been hearing for two years how respect for our democratic institutions is paramount.

    We have freedom of expression. But that doesn’t give someone the right to interupt when its not their turn to speak. It doesn’t give them the right to breach security.

    This young woman should be ashamed of herself.

    The fact that you’re defending her actions is equally outrageous.

  46. Barcs says:

    http://twitter.com/#!/MornaBallantyne/status/76741577023823873

    Even More outrageous Shadow… A job offer from the “Non-partisan” PSAC union to work as an organizer.

    …. Makes me wish that Harper was cracking down on unions like some people would have us believe instead of expanding the base of civil servants.

  47. Art Cramer says:

    Nope, Shaddow, don’t feel that way.

    It was protest. In a free and democatic society, it is a citzen’s right, and duty. I think what is more outrageous is that in what is the “people’s chamber”, that we try to stiffle citizen voice.

    Harper’s case it seems to me was different. But nothwithstanding the issue one way or the other, she isn’t elected to any office. She probably technically could be cosidered “an officer of Parliment”. But she is hardly showing contempt for the instituion. I would feel the same way about her disent if Jack had been elected, and she had held a “stop Layton”, sign.

    I don’t have any problem with citizen protest. It is the cost of democracy. There is nothing outrageous.

    Sorry, just don’t see it.

    @Barcs, the only reason you have the freedoms you do, and the social safety net you do, is because of Unions. I’m sure you know that. The anti-union commentary is silly.

    Arthur Cramer, Winnipeg

  48. Shadow says:

    Art a page neglecting her duties and disrupting the proceedings is indeed showing contempt for the institution.

    If everyone behaved like she did we wouldn’t have a functioning parliament and it would be anarchy.

    Unions ?

    Just because they may have made positive contributions in the past does not mean they are immune from criticism or that they are automatically useful going forward.

    Barcs is right, it seems like the supposedly non-partisan public service unions have declared outright war on Harper.

    I’m guessing their strategy is to just wait out the next four years and try for an NDP led coalition.

    The proper response would be measures like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Tim Hudak in Ontario are proposing.

    Or perhaps just do what Barack Obama does and ban federal unions altogether.

  49. Barcs says:

    Yes, the poor poor unions… fighting for workers safety and struggling against the evil business overlords.

    Except they don’t anymore. There is no more black lung in the deep dark coal mines,… there is countless organizations dedicated to worker safety and training (like labour relations boards, or OH&S)…. There is dozens, hundreds of regulations put in place by the government to control worksite safety.

    ….Did you know that my friends camp, that a kid can go play in the treehouse…. but you can’t (not just send, can’t allow) a worker to go up there with the kids?? So now the treehouse is off-limits because the kids can’t be supervised on it. Praise the Union.

    But what does a union do now that there is so many other remedies that a worker can take? ..not much. They serve to protect weak, or lazy employees, and make sure they get the cushy wage in their entitled job.

    Feel like eating in the southern BC restaurant where the employee with a skin condition no longer has to wash her hands, Nor wear gloves, when preparing food?? Both aggravate the condition, but instead of finding a job more suited to her, she chose to endanger the public by forcing a lessening of health standards.

    How about you stand around on the bottom in the oil patch where the guy moving the heavy stuff around above you no longer has to pass random drug testing. He was caught and fired you see for endangering his coworkers. But far from protecting them those poor workers, his rights were being curtailed, so workplace safety took a hit.

    Maybe you heard about the park up near Prince Albert, Sask. Where the residents thought the gate area didn’t get planted with flowers fast enough and wanted it to look nice. So they volunteered labour,… and flowers out of their own pocket to do the job…. Which were promptly ripped out the next evening by the union because that should have been union labour – paid – …. it was costing union jobs to have a volunteer do it.

    .

    I don’t deny that unions have done great accomplishments in the past, and some do work for the good of their members today.

    But then there is the Sask teachers federation striking “for the students” this past month. And all that the second highest paid teachers in the country were really sticking on (striking previous and during exams that students need to move on) was a simple 12% historic wage correction in one year so that they could be paid like the Alberta teachers….. Presumably without the layoff of 1000 Alberta teachers this year because they don’t have the money to pay those wages either.

    Maybe CUPW…. $23 hour to walk around for a half day isn’t all that much for a job that is basically minimum wage worthy. I remember writing letters to a penpal at 36 cents a stamp. Today it is 54… and rising. Canada posts debt is in the billions, and rising. Its an aged system, slow, but it would cost union jobs to bring in automation… so we can’t really speed it up. or make it more efficient. But they obviously need more money and benefits. In the real world, pay is based on merit. Here it is just based on how long you have worked… oh and you can’t be fired no matter how many complaints. (I lived in an appartment building that got together and tried for one exceptionally bad letter carrier…. the result? The guy kept his job, and we took turns walking to the other close by buildings to get everyones mail and distribute it.)

    CUPW is also very politically active. From spending against “global capitalism” to marijuana laws to their rage against Israel. What do these have to do with getting a better deal for the employees

    Every year Saskatchewan loses dozens of young teachers or nurses. You see the system is based on seniority, not merit here. So if you can find a job not snapped up by someone that has a couple years more than you… you still get the bad shifts, or the problem areas. More of my school friends work out of province than in… because they can’t find or deal with a job within the union constraints. (My brother in law actually moved to Mexico to teach. He’s back now, but not to teach)

    SGEU in Sask has been running political ads all year. No, they don’t have a contract dispute. They just don’t like the government. So this non-partisan public sector government union has been running anti saskparty ads anyway. But finding that their coffers are dwindling win the face of more and more TV ads… they have decided to shake down their members for more money. They declared a raise in their take. almost 30% upwards. This amounts to $200 a person/year on their average union salary. To organize politically.

    .

    To be fair to unions tho. Some of my dislike is personal. 15 years ago I was working on a summer contract. I was covered by the PSAC contract, but not applied to the union. So when they went on strike. I was required to work and cross the line. 3 people did more than $5000 damage to my truck. Luckily for me, I only had to pay for my deductible and lose my truck for 2 weeks while it was fixed. I had pics, but it was deemed a legitimate form of union protest, and noone was charged. (to this day, none of them has been able to prove that I was the reason they each replaced 2 engines in their vehicles…. Theirs wasn’t covered by insurance either.)

    .

    Whatever good things Unions accomplish, There is trial and tribulations. And today nothing is bigger business (and less about the workers) that are the unions. And “anti-union commentary” is no more silly than defending them because of acts they did 100 years ago.

    Like anything else they should stand or fall. Gain allocades or criticism on their actions today. There is nothing that is completely undeserving of criticism and we should always look to make things better.

    .

    “It is the cost of democracy.” Cost? Just like hospitals the cost is less, and things not only run smoother, but also better for everyone (including the protestor) if people are …a little… responsible in their decisions. Just like everyone going to outpatients instead of to the doctor…. or dealing with a hangnail themselves.

    Irresponsible use… just hurts everyone. For example now security will have to be increased because if you can get a sign in… what else can you? Screening for the job will have to be increased to keep wingnuts like her out. Decorum, and the office has taken a hit as a “non partisan” protest … oddly on partisan lines.

    …. And in the words of her father. “What did she accomplish with her actions”?? Did she help anything along? Change anyones minds? Or throw away a chance to learn, to work within the system to better it so that she could have a 10 second TV spot that noone will remember in a month (Except for the extra costs)??

  50. Barcs says:

    Wow, that was way longer than intended. Apologies for that.

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