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Has the NDP paid back the wage subsidy?

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2021/08/17

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is asking the New Democratic Party to confirm it has paid back the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy after the party released a proposal to force business executives who pocketed bonuses to pay back the subsidy.

“Businesses shouldn’t be fattening their C-suites while taking tax dollars, but it was also wrong for political parties to help themselves to the wage subsidy meant from struggling businesses,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director with the CTF. “It’s great to see the NDP calling on these businesses to pay the wage subsidy back and taxpayers are looking forward to confirmation that the NDP is paying back the subsidy as well.”

The NDP’s proposal would force businesses that took the wage subsidies at the same time as they paid bonuses to executives to return that money. 

The NDP, Conservatives, Liberals and Greens all took the wage subsidy. Only the Bloc declined the subsidy from the start. As of November 2020, the NDP was still collecting the subsidy, according to iPolitics.

Despite the pandemic and the party taking the wage subsidy, the NDP’s fundraising fared well. 

“Outside of that election year [2019], 2020 marks the most the party has raised since the 2015 federal election,” according to CBC.

Political parties already receive special taxpayer treatment, such as tax credits for political contributions, along with reimbursements for candidates and parties. Reimbursements for 2019 election expenses cost taxpayers $64.4 million, according to Elections Canada. 

Members of Parliament also received two pay raises during COVID-19, ranging from $6,900 for a backbench MP to $13,800 for the prime minister.

“Many Canadians were worried about their jobs during COVID-19, but I don’t think too many people were laying awake at night worried about a shortage of political attack ads,” said Terrazzano. “Parties already receive special taxpayer treatment and it’s important that they pay the wage subsidy back because they clearly didn’t need it.”