The lineup at the public trough will be getting shorter if the Tory government has its way and cuts the more than $26 million a year of public financing that goes to support federal parties. Federal political parties receive a public subsidy of $1.75 per year for each vote they receive in a general election. (Update: this hand-out increased to $1.95 in Oct. 2008.)
The Conservative’s proposal will be presented today (Thursday) at 4:00 p.m. in the House of Commons as part of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s economic update.
The Tory party, which has to play under the very same rules as the other federal parties, believes it can do without the subsidy, so why can’t the others? Well apparently, the other parties rely heavily on government subsidies and bank loans to finance their party activities instead of implementing a sophisticated grass-roots-based fundraising system, such as the Tories have done.
Tory fundraising is said to raise as much as $20 million a year. They are reported to be the only party to finish the recent general election in the black.
For decades, the other parties have charged that the Tories are the party of big business and are beholden to the sector because of its influence in the party. But apparently these were empty, false claims. The Liberals and NDP are, of course, the ones who traditionally depended on corporations, unions and other large organizations for their financial support in contrast to Tory grass root support.