Medicine Hat Media

What’s Your Vote Worth? A Buck Seventy Five?

In 2003, bill C-24 brought significant reform to Canada’s electoral and campaign finance laws. The Bill was an amendment to the 1974 Election Expenses Act. The 1974 legislation responded to growing concern over the political fundraising and the financing of parties and election campaigns.

For this election, federal parties that receive over 2% of the national vote get $1.75 per vote cast. When you cast a vote for a party, you are not only saying that you approve of their values, but you give them your $1.75 to support their policies and future campaigns. The electoral districts (ridings) that receive 10% or more of their local vote receive 50% of their campaign spending back. Suffice to say, we’re talking about tax dollars.  Also in qualifying, parties such as Canadian Action or the Marijuana Party won’t see any cash, in all likelihood they will be under 2%.  However, parties like the NDP and Greens heavily depend on this money from your votes for future campaigns.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this may be the last year the $1.75 program exists.  If the Conservatives gain a majority, they will surely strike down any future tax dollars to political campaigns.  Is that a good thing?  Do we want our tax dollars going to political parties in order that they can market themselves to us?

Fact of the matter, all political campaigns must be funded.  If not with tax revenue then where?   Private sponsorship and corporate donations?  Presently corporate and union political donations are somewhat banned.

That being said, what does a system of solely private and corporate funded politics lead to? More favouritism and lobbying?  How else would politicals parties be financially supported?  What system would be better?

Considering the weak voter turnout expected for this election, funding from this Elections Act program for all parties will be in the region of $27 million.  Not an annual expenditure, it’s the only cash the parties will receive until the next Federal Election.  Inclusive to the $300 million pricetag of this election.   Is that alot of tax dollars to pay for fair democracy?  Some say it is.

At any rate, this could be the final election where your vote is worth $1.75.   Personally, I would suggest my vote is worth a whole lot a more.

User Comments

Leave a Reply