Political parties should not be taking money from taxpayers

Author: Kris Sims 2021/05/27


VANCOUVER, B.C.: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation testified at a legislative committee to demand an end to per-vote subsidies for political parties.

“Politicians are taking about $30 million from taxpayers for lawn signs and attack ads and now they want more,” Kris Sims, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation told the legislative committee on Thursday. “Instead of paying for partisan campaigns, that money could pay the salaries of 50 new fulltime paramedics for 10 years.”

The Special Committee to Review Provisions of the Election Act is hearing arguments for and against extending the per-vote subsidy.

In 2017, Premier John Horgan said he had no intention of creating a per-vote subsidy. He told CFAX radio: “At no time have I said that I prefer to make public dollars responsible for political parties.”

After the election, Horgan created the per-vote subsidy and additional taxpayer payments to political parties. Money is now taken from taxpayers and given to political parties based on the number of votes they get.

Political parties are on track to take about $20 million from taxpayers through the per-vote subsidy by 2022, when it is set to expire. Taxpayers also foot the bills for half the costs of campaign expenses for political parties during elections. When combined, the payments will take about $30 million from taxpayers.

Political parties spend the money on things such as attack ads, lawn signs and junk mail.

The amount of $30 million could otherwise pay for:              

  • The salaries of 50 full time paramedics for 10 years.
  • The salaries of 115 long term care workers for five years.
  • The annual average provincial income tax bill for the population of Osoyoos.

“If politicians believe in their principles and ideas, they should get off of their backsides and go share that vision to get donations from willing people, because mooching off taxpayers is wrong,” said Sims. “Our democracy doesn’t need political welfare from taxpayers, political parties should raise their own funds.”

The federal per vote subsidy was cancelled in 2011.