Remember the prorogation kurfuffle? No, not the one in 2009 one. The first one.
It looks like history is about to repeat itself.
Mr. Harper has announced that he wants to eliminate government subsidies for political parties. So far he’s only said that he wants to use that as a Conservative plank in the next election, but I’m betting that it will appear in bill form sometime before early March – just before a budget would have to be brought down.
Why? The first time the government tried to eliminate subsidies, the opposition parties freaked out and botched forming a coalition. This time around, instead of proroguing, Harper is going to force the vote and allow the government to fall on this handy dandy wedge issue. In the subsequent election, he can paint the other parties as pigs at a trough, and say “there are already generous credits and incentives in the tax system to encourage people to give to political parties today.” Oh wait. He just did.
I can pretend the move is antidemocratic: the subsidy means that everyone’s vote has value. In a donation-only system, only people who have spare cash can donate, so they’ll donate to parties that pander to their wants meet their needs. Poor folks (who can’t wait until tax time for their tax credits to be returned) won’t be represented as well.
But, in my heart of hearts, my main reason for supporting the subsidy is that it benefits the Green Party. The subsidy forms a substantial part of the our budget, so any reduction of the subsidy would cripple the federal party. I tend to think of that as a bad thing, but others would probably disagree.