Monday, 22 October 2012

Pallister & Plutocracy

Should people with money, such as members of the
Manitoba Club, have more influence over
political ads/finances than the
 hard-working poor of our province?

Top: Picture of Manitoba Club, obtained from
Gauche Manitoba.

Bottom: Photo of janitor, obtained
 J.G.  Janitorial Services LtD website. 
The NDP's weak when it comes to the democratic financing of elections while the Pallister CONs are just outright atrocious. They're leading an all out, open war against the democratic financing of electoral campaigns, ensuring what's effectively a "one dollar one vote" system when it comes to advertising.

Pallister's Party frames this as an issue of involuntary "vote taxes" against hardworking Manitobans, but the Greens are exposing this talking point as nonsense.

“The PCs are the real pick pockets of the provincial public purse. With one hand they distract the public saying they won't take political subsidies, while with other hand they take over a million dollars in taxpayer funded political subsidies,” said Green Party of Manitoba Leader James Beddome in response to comments by PC Leader Brian Pallister.

Much attention has been paid to the $1.25 per-vote subsidy, but little given to the 50% election expense reimbursement. The reimbursements paid out in 2007 to parties and candidates came to $2.4 million. If all parties had accepted the per-vote subsidy, it would have come to $2.1 million over four years, or $300,000 less than the reimbursements. [my emphasis added]

Political parties and candidates who receive more than 10% of the vote in a Manitoba election receive 50% of their expenses refunded.

Numbers for 2011 are not yet available. In 2007 $2.4 million in reimbursements was paid to political parties and candidates. $1.9 million was paid directly or by way of transfer to political parties, with the remaining half-million being paid to largely NDP candidates to cover election expense deficits. The PC party was the biggest benefactor of this public subsidy receiving $1,072,950 in reimbursements from 2007, followed by the NDP who received $714,134. [my emphasis added] 
("Greens Call-out PC Hypocrisy" Green Party Press Release, Sept. 21, 2012 ) 
What is the Pallister response? He thinks there's a big difference between getting expenses reimbursed and the vote subsidy.
Should only the well off
decide which parties get money?

Image Source: Change the Topic

The big difference this blogger sees is that the vote subsidy most strongly benefits parties without already existing big bucks. The vote subsidy creates a fairer chance for parties supported by those without deep pockets by allowing them to get their messages heard. The reimbursement, however, is just that - a reimbursement for parties who already have the big bucks and deep-pocketed donors.

The Manitoba CONs have deep-pocketed donors, as does the NDP.  Nevertheless, the Manitoba CONs outspent the Manitoba NDP by $400,000 last election, the difference was less noticeable due to the Dipper's access to the bully pulpit thanks to their incumbency. Third parties, however, could barely have their voices heard. The Pallister CON's plan to axe the vote subsidy will effectively silence third parties.

This leads down a dangerous road, where parties will have to tailor their messages to those with deep-pockets to get ad money. The Pallister CONs, with their country club conservative supporters, will certainly benefit from this. But hardworking poor Manitobans will lose, losing their influence over party finances & weakening their voices. This reduces real democracy and makes our politics more plutocratic.

The effects of the Pallister CON assault on the democratic financing of political campaigns amounts to class warfare against the poor.

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1 comment:

  1. The bully pulpit includes using Manitoba Hydro and government ads to promote the political decisions of the the NDP.

    The federal NDP criticized Tories in Ottawa for what the NDP does in Manitoba over the economic action plan ads.

    There is a lot of hypocrisy when it comes to political finances.

    The NDP government is only looking at one aspect of and not the whole area in terms of third party ads, union and corporate supports, tax credits, voter subsidies.