A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Too Much Money?

With much speculation (Harper, will meet with Governor General David Johnston, Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Canada, Sunday at 9:55 a.m., according to a statement released late Saturday by the prime minister’s office.) that today is the day that Harper will go to the GG and dissolve parliament thus resulting in a record 11 week election period (or not) here is a quick review of the inordinate amount of money that will be spent during that time. No attempt has been made to estimate the millions spent by the Harper regime in recent months assassinating one particular opposition leader or how much of our money was spent promoting their various taxable bribes for families with children and other self promotion on our dime.

With longer campaign possible taxpayers could be on the hook for more than ususal since they subsidize the donations that fuel campaigns and then subsidize parties and their candidates again for spending that money during a campaign.

Most of the money parties and candidates will be throwing around during the campaign comes from donations, which are worth a generous tax credit of 75 per cent on the first $400, 50 per cent on the next $350 and 33.3 per cent on the next $500.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates those tax credits are worth somewhere between $16 million and $36 million per year in foregone revenue.
Each party running a full slate of candidates is entitled to spend a maximum of about $25 million for a five-week campaign; each candidate an average of about $100,000.
But, under the recently passed Fair Elections Act, those spending limits will increase by 1/37 for each day a campaign exceeds 37 days. That’s an extra $675,000 per day for each party’s national campaign, an additional $2,700 per day for their candidates.
A campaign that is double the minimum length would effectively double the spending limits and, theoretically, double the amount of money parties and candidates stand to be reimbursed, at up to 50 per cent for parties and up to 60 per cent for candidates, — by taxpayers — when it’s all over.
The rebates handed out to parties and candidates after the five-week election campaign in 2011 were estimated by Elections Canada to be over $60 million, presuming most of their funding came from individual donations a further $60 million or so in tax deductions would also be available to those individuals. With an extended election period the various rebates, tax deductions and extra administrative costs of longer office leases for returning offices, staff and equipment, estimated at $375 million for a 37day campaign, could easily approach $100 million.
A third party can spend a total of $205,800 across Canada during a 37-day campaign, and no more than $4,116 in any riding, this total however would increase by a little over $5500 per day for a longer election period. A number of rules as to what and who falls into this category exist.

Then there is this courtesy of Montreal Simon

Many, if not most, of these cheques will go towards community projects that desperately need some federal funding, some of which have been waiting for years for funding, its not the expenditure thats the problem its the timing! This ploy to buy votes is so obvious and blatant that no one should fall for it, but many will actually believe that line “well now we have balanced the budget we can afford it” line, this despite the PBO assertion that that we are in fact in the hole still and that the economy is tanking!

As I have said here before I am coming to the conclusion that the limits on party and candidate spending, contributors tax deductions, and party and candidate reimbursement, should all be further restricted not increased as was brought in by that “Fair” Elections Act. If we are to have “Fair” elections the impact that “big money” has upon what the electorate hears about a particular party or candidate must be restricted and the ability of parties or candidates with less access to large war chests, such as those with support in less affluent riding’s, to put their platform before the public must be enhanced.

There are ways that they can put their ideas and platforms before the general public across the country without any cost to the public purse or their own coffers – one such is called 'debates' and although many will have limited circulation there WAS one that was available across the country. Now it seems that Mulclair has joined Harper in laying down 'conditions' tor any debates that he participates in that will kill the TV Consortium’s proposed October debate and further sideline the only Leader whom they all seem scared to debate. How can any leader who supports democracy (we know Harper does not, but Mulclair purports to) agree to debates that do not include ALL party leaders who have a seat in The House and support in every province.

Unfortunately little can be done to restrict advertising by individuals, groups or parties outside the election period, in a democracy folks are free to express their opinion and spend their money how they wish, but I sure want MUCH stronger, enforceable, rules upon government self promotion advertising and an independent body to vet such advertising BEFORE it hits the airwaves. Well I guy can dream cant he?

Sadly there is a real danger that the guys who spend the most money on attack Ads, self promotion and spreading lies and innuendo will be the ones to buy the most votes, would but that were not true but far too many folks are easily fooled.

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