Stephen Harper is again posturing over taxpayers having to subsidize political parties. He fails to mention the $247 million and counting he charged taxpayers to fund his 'Canada Economic Action Plan' ad blitz.
We should actually be alarmed that his reasoning means fewer elections, the most fundamental part of a democracy. Is he suggesting no more elections if we give him permission to continue his one man act?
When he was heading the Alliance Party he spoke out against the Liberal plan that removed the power from corporations and gave it back to engaged citizens. Harper argued that "increased public subsidies to parties would preserve Liberal hegemony, reduce the responsiveness of parties to their members and the public, and require taxpayers to support parties with which they disagree."
A misleading statement because it is actually $1.95 going to the party that the individual taxpayer voted for. Democracy at it's most profound. Not all Canadians are able to donate to politicians, and the subsidy puts everyone on equal footing. The price of a cup of coffee as a reward for performing their civic duty.
Don't forget that Stephen Harper was the one who sued us for not allowing corporations to fund election campaigns.
But let's say for a moment that he is sincere and cares about us poor taxpayers. He shouldn't stop there. I have a few suggestions.
ABSOLUTELY NO SELF PROMOTION ADVERTISING. All government sites are government sites only, and all media buys are for actual news relating to new programs or warnings on health and safety issues. A $250 million savings right there. Britain already has a law to that effect, and Ontario had to adopt a law after Mike Harris almost broke the bank on signs and TV spots.
This would also include ten percenters with silly messages like Michael Ignatieff once called himself a Samurai Warrior. Unless the Samarai have declared war on us, nobody cares. There's another $10 million savings.
Any religious organization that campaigns for a political party MUST LOSE THEIR TAX EXEMPT STATUS. Why are pro-life groups allowed to issue tax receipts and not political activist organizations?
Lower the tax incentive. Most campaign contributions cost very little because the savings are enormous. This enables the wealthiest citizens to have a bigger voice than the rest of us.
So unless he's willing to entertain these notions, especially the first, then he's just blowing smoke.