Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Conservatives Latest Attempt to Starve the other Parties May Backfire

I posted before about Steve Fletcher's plan to once again remove voter subsidies. They can afford to this because they are backed by Canada's wealthiest citizens and are the only right-wing option, so don't have to compete for funds.

These subsidies are highly democratic because it means that even if our candidate didn't win, their party at least gets a couple of bucks on our behalf, to ensure that they can compete again.

In fact, these subsidies helped to propel the Reform-Alliance-Conservatives to power, back in the day when they were a young party in need of cash to stay afloat; but now that they are the all powerful, they are trying to bankrupt everyone else.

Fletcher is also working to add more seats to Alberta and rural Ontario, where they feel they are the strongest.

We don't need more seats, we just need people in them.

A recent report, co-authored by former Harper insider, Tom Flanagan; while attempting to be pragmatic, may be paving the way for Fletcher's scheme.

It was written with David Coletto, another Calgary University political science prof (aka: Calgary School) who has had an interest in these voter subsidies for sometime, as well as a keen interest in American politics. Well qualified, but certainly not unbiased.

I don't agree that this money made politics toxic. Before he retired, Don Newman was asked about the climate on the Hill, and he said it changed when the Reformers came to town. There was spirited debate before that, but at least things got done.

The Reformers were about making sure that things never got done.

Cash, votes and the rise of toxic politics
January 27, 2010
By Chantal H├ębert
National Columnist

There is a French expression that best captures the central role of money in fuelling conflict. It describes it as "le nerf de la guerre" or, loosely translated, the sinew of war.

According to a just-published University of Calgary study, the public dollars that have flown to the main federal parties since the introduction of a new political financing system six years ago may have served exactly that purpose, tilting an already adversarial dynamic toward even more conflict ....

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