[FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE] BARRIE – Thursday the Conservative government announced that they intend to axe per-vote funding to political parties. The Barrie Green Party chapter says this is no way a fix to the economic crisis, but merely a move to silence democratic voices.
Each political party earns a subsidy of $1.95 per year for each vote they receive in a general election. The federal government is operating with a $245 billion annual budget and cuts to per-vote funding would save a mere $28 million dollars a year – or one hour’s worth of federal spending. Yet this cut will undercut the ability of opposition parties year-round to provide a democratic alternative to our minority government. Another federal election – which may be triggered by the ruling party’s gambit – would cost taxpayers upwards of $300 million.
“Under the current first-past-the-post system, voters who don’t support the winning candidate are able to direct funding to the party of their choice, meaning their vote is not entirely wasted,” said Erich Jacoby-Hawkins, the 2008 Green Party candidate. “Taking this away means silencing the voice and choice of voters.”
The various political parties would suffer from the cuts to very different degrees. The Conservatives would lose only 37% of their funding whereas the Greens would lose 65%, the Liberals 63%, and the NDP 57%.
“We are in an economic crisis,” added Jacoby-Hawkins. “While manufacturing in Ontario is going down the tubes, our Prime Minister should focus on moving to a prosperous green economy and protecting our jobs, not on gaining partisan advantage and threatening another power-grab federal election. Harper has already amply shown that he has no reluctance to spend public money on his own pre-election advertising but apparently wants his to be the only voice heard.”
“The Green Party was around for 20 years before receiving federal funding. We have the support of almost a million Canadians and we will continue to grow and challenge the old line parties,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May today, vowing to continue offering a democratic alternative despite threatened cuts to public funding.