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BRITISH COLUMBIANS STUCK WITH VOTE TAX

November 01, 2017
BRITISH COLUMBIANS STUCK WITH VOTE TAX

BC taxpayers are being stuck with an unexpected vote tax bill, courtesy of a political leader who promised otherwise.

Premier John Horgan has announced that big corporations and big unions cannot donate to political parties in BC anymore, keeping one of his campaign promises. In the next breath, however, he broke one of his repeated vows and imposed a per-vote subsidy on BC voters. A vote tax. That means that the everyday taxpayer is going to be forced to fork over an extra $2.50 every time a political party gets a vote in our elections.

Political parties will rake in $16.4 million from BC taxpayers over the next four years. That’s the cost of 270 brand new fully loaded pick-up trucks, or about 82,000 tickets to see the Canucks play.

After this latest flip-flopped gouging by government, BC taxpayer dollars will now be paying for things like candidate lawn signs, partisan attack ads and those glossy pamphlets stuck in your mailbox. This was a bad idea when the federal government imposed a vote tax under former Prime Minister Jean Chretien, and it’s a worse idea now because we should all know better.

The federal vote tax was eventually scrapped after former Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a majority, but not before its threatened cancellation helped to trigger the 2008 coalition crisis during the Harper minority government which saw the Dion Liberals sign a deal with the NDP and the separatist Bloc Quebecois. Remarkably, the NDP and Liberals were willing to do business with a party dedicated to tearing the country apart to keep their free cash.

Political parties already enjoy overly generous taxpayer benefits in the form of tax receipts - far higher than charities receive. In BC, people get a 75 per cent tax credit for the first $100 they donate to a provincial political party. So, if someone donates $100 to the BC NDP they get a $75 tax credit, however, if they donate $100 to the Red Cross charity they would only get a tax credit for $20.06. Federally it’s even more generous where political party donors get a 75 per cent tax credit on the first $400 donated.

Why should partisan parties now be reaching deeper into our wallets to fund their campaigns and attack ads? If a Canadian chooses to donate to a political party that’s a fundamental right in a democracy, but to have a political party take your money by force is exactly the opposite.

Contributing to political parties should be up to the free will and judgement of all Canadians. If parties want to pass the hat at rah-rah rallies, create attractive online campaigns or host telethons with yogic flier performances by the Natural Law Party, then, that’s their right and their prerogative. They should, however, keep their partisan hands out of taxpayers pockets.

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