Friday, August 14, 2009

The public views public financing of political parties as a good thing

A letter to the editor today by Steven Fletcher, also known as the Minister of State for "Democratic Reform":
While some have advocated ending the per-vote subsidy only for the Bloc Québécois, that is not the position of our Conservative government. We believe that no party should have its operations supported by this taxpayer subsidy and that all parties should be primarily funded by their supporters.

Steven Fletcher, Minister of State (Democratic Reform), Ottawa
A reminder then:
Dr. MacDermid points to the 2006 Canadian Elections Study, funded in part by Elections Canada, which asked respondents whether political parties should get public funding. More than half of those surveyed had no opinion.

But, of those who did, 71 per cent said the public financing was a "good thing."

"This is the history of public finance for parties. Time and time again, in polls going back to the early '90s when the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing looked at this issue, Canadians have always said that they support public financing," Dr. MacDermid said.

"I can speculate that they think it's a way of ensuring fairness - so that the richest party doesn't always dominate the circus, which is a pretty persuasive argument.
Yes, there are many persuasive and sound arguments for this policy and they have been supported by Canadians over the years when properly informed of the pros and cons, free from one-sided propaganda campaigns. Let's not let Ministers peddling supposed "Democratic Reform" forget how we got to the system we have. It's been a natural legislative development grounded in public opinion and research. It is worth supporting, not slashing and burning.