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article imageCanada: Public Funding for Federal Political Parties Will Be Cut

By Bob Ewing     Nov 27, 2008 in Politics
The Canadian federal government plans to cut nearly $30 million a year in public funding for federal parties: the Finance Minister will announce plans soon.
Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will announce the government's plans to cut approximately $30 million a year in public funding for federal parties.
This cut will save taxpayers' money but will also deal a major financial blow to opposition parties.
"The government intends to run the economy and run the budget in a responsible way," Flaherty said Wednesday.
The major federal parties receive $1.95 per vote on an annual basis. In this year's federal election, roughly 14 million eligible voters cast their ballots, which translated to $27 million in taxpayers' money for the parties each year.
The new proposal will see the parties lose:
* Conservatives: $10 million
* Liberals: $7.7 million
* NDP: $4.9 million
* Bloc Quebecois: $2.6 million
* Green Party: $1.8 million
The Conservatives do lose the most money, however, it would be a smaller share of their overall revenue because they get most of their funding through private donations.
"They're going to have a hell of a fight on their hands. This is not the way to behave in a democracy," Liberal leadership contender Bob Rae said.
Last year, the Conservative Party received just 37 per cent of its funding from the public subsidy, according to The Canadian Press. The other parties received:
* Bloc Quebecois: 86 per cent
* Green Party: 65 per cent
* Liberals: 63 per cent
* NDP: 57 per cent
Jean Chretien first implemented public funding through general elections, and critics say it heavily favours whichever party is currently in power.
"For the smaller parties, this public funding is what allows us to participate fully in democracy," said New Democrat MP Pat Martin.
The Green Party may find it difficult to stage an effective cross-country campaign without the money, especially since they were unable to elect a single MP to Parliament.
Flaherty may also present measures to curb the pay of Parliamentarians and top civil servants: possibly including curtailing a planned $4,600 pay hike for MPs.
Anthony Rota, the Liberal caucus chair, said "we're wiling to do our share as far as restricting and looking at what can be done with MPs' salaries."
"Will the prime minister reduce his cabinet to a sensible level?" Liberal MP Wayne Easter asked during question period Wednesday. "Cut the 37 limo services and cut the bloated staffing."
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