Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The high price of electoral disfunction - what the federal election voter participation decline means for public funding of political parties

There may have been no big electoral winners in the federal election results when it comes to party representation in the House of Commons - but there was one big financial winner in terms of taxpayer funding of political parties.

The Green Party and leader Elizabeth May suffered yet another embarrassing failure to launch - not a single MP elected and their one last-minute controversial convert - West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast MP Blair Wilson - went down to crushing defeat.

But the Green Party is literally in the green when it comes to public financing, based on the raw results of election night votes. [Note - these votes are based on available early data and may change somewhat.]

The Greens increased their popular vote by 2.3% to 6.8% - that meant gaining 276,679 more votes than in 2006.

Under federal electoral financing rules - reformed by former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien to severely restrict corporate and union donations -every political party gets about $1.81 per vote per year indexed to inflation.

The Green Party will get $500,789 more in public funding than after the 2006 election. That means they should get a little more than $1.7 million annually.

But the other parties will pay the price for Canada's record low voter turnout - even as some increased their percentage of the popular vote, their actual votes all dropped due to voters staying home.

The big loser is obviously the Liberal Party - which lost 19 seats on October 14 and 4% of the popular vote compared to its 2006 results.

Because the Liberals received 846,525 fewer votes they will get a big cut of close to $1.53 million less in public funding annually, a painful blow.

While the Conservative Party's popular vote went up by 1.3% over 2006 to 37.6% they actually got 168,737 fewer votes as a result of the lower voter turnout. So they will get $305,414 less public funding per year.

The New Democratic Party percentage of popular vote increased 0.7% over 2006 but like the Conservatives, their actual votes dropped. The NDP received 72,522 fewer votes, meaning a public funding cut of about $131,000 per year.

The Bloc Quebecois also lost 0.5% of the popular vote and received 173,636 fewer votes than in 2006. This means $314,000 less in public financing annually.

All of this points to one clear fact that every party should agree with - increasing Canada's voter turnout is a tide that would raise every party's ship.


Anonymous said...

Re: Ujjal Dosanjh's comments on Jack Layton and the NDP

The Liberals have no one blame for their poor showing but themselves. They ran with a dreadful platform, a dreadful leader and many instances, dreadful candidates. If it wasn't for Jack Layton and the NDP running such an aggressive campaign, voter turnout would have been even lower and Harper would have gotten his majority government.

tinaz said...

If it would not have been for the Bloc Qu├ębecois, Stephen Harper would have gotten his majority. They didn't call it "the bloc" for nothing.

The record low turnout is a reflection of the loss of confidence citizens have towards politics and towards our Canadian Institutions.

Until politicians refuse to really speak about the ills of this country, starting with corruption from within, than less and less citizens will vote. In fact, Canada is in a serious crisis.

It's one thing to hear each of the parties promise to pour money into the social fabric of our system, however when push comes to shove, our institutions, including the RCMP and the judiciary, complain they never have enough money. How much money would be enough to make a system work without corruption?

We did not need to go to the polls again but the Harper government was compel to spend more money. So basically, what purpose did it serve to call an early election?

Anonymous said...

You will recall about three weeks ago I proposed a . . . "NONE OF THE ABOVE" voter's movement for the October 14th Election.

According Elections Canada, 42% of Canadians did-not-vote on 14/October.

Image if these 42%, along with those people who wasted their vote on the Disneyland policies of the Green Party had gone to vote and written in on their ballot . . . NONE OF THE ABOVE.

At this moment we would all be talking about Canada's new & real Official Opposition Movement.

Image how Harper's & Dion's butt-kissers would try to spin their way out of that one.

Like the Poland's 1980 Solidarity Movement . . . sometimes change does not happen at the official level.


Grumpy said...

Great Satan I like to add this: If None of the Above gains the highest vote, then a by-election must be called within 30 days and the loosing people running for the seat must pay for the by-election. We must empower the people.

In my opinion all three major political parties have lost touch with the Canadian people. The NDP more so than others.

The party that can relate to the public and actually are concerned about the 'Great Unwashed' will win a majority.

Grumpy voted Green because, the big three were seen to be the big three has-beens. Also the Greens like the extra $1.81!

Anonymous said...

I think these new federal party funding rules are bizarre.
Are these rules used elsewhere?
Are any provinces thinking of doing something similar?

Anonymous said...

Only in Canada and only through a scheme created by the Liberals would an election process be turned into a process of receiving a welfare cheque.

Since I "rejected" my ballot upon voting (as per a provision in the Canadian Elections Act)I think that it only logical that I should also receive a $1.87 welfare cheque from the Government of Canada.

But then again I guess the "pigs at the trough" forgot about me (as someone who voted "rejected") in their shameless desire to freely live off the avails of the Canadian taxpayer...

And, of course, one can only speculate as to how many of the people who didn't bother vote would have changed their mind and voted "rejected" if they would have got a cheque in the mail from the Government of Canada!

Anonymous said...

Bill - the infamous Marshall Smith lives!!! He was at the Lorne Mayencourt campaign office - the base of operations for the Conservatives in BC on election night. He was chumming with other former staffers like Steven Puhallo. You may recall Marshall is the former Campbell government Ministerial Assistant who was arrested, charged and convicted of trafficking cocaine, marijuana and ecstacy in Victoria. I almost forgot, he was beaten by two people in a half way house with metal bars and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

I guess he is brining his skills to the Conservative camp this time.

Good luck Marshall, stay away from bikers with metal bars!

DPL said...

Ujjal is subject to a recount and Desousa who din't want one early yesterday now wants one against Keith Martin in Esquimalt. The cons are doing a scorched earth attempt, but why not. Voter apathy jumped up and hurt some candidates. But good olg West who had stepped down still got over 3,000 votes which stopped Dr. Briony Penn . As well the local greens were too hidebound to support the greenest candidate of all, partly I guess because Briony saw no chance getting elected as a green. Folks are still wondering just whoset up a taped phone call up of NDP members urging them to vote for West the non candidate? Who says Canadians are strategic voters? Many are simply too dumb, if they vote to even keep up to date on what's going on.

Anonymous said...

re: Alex Tsakumis comments on Frenk McKenna becoming Liberal leader in 24 Houts

I think the leftward leaning faction of the federal Liberal party will be even more resistant to Carlyle Group Advisory Board member Frank McKenna becoming their leader than they were to Iraq War supporter Michael Ignatieff's bid. Even if by some Marissen inspired miracle McKernna were to become Liberal leader, it would send small "l" Liberals rushing into Jack Layton's arms. It would be John Turner all over again.

Anonymous said...

Electoral disfunction has many causal factors; lack of trust, confusion on policies, elections too frequently etc. But listening to some of the youngsters interviewed by CTV the other night it would seem there is another cause; simply a lack of appropriate education in schools. I guess there is a fear that the teachers would bias the outcome but surely there is money in the budget somewhere to produce a bigger school based and public based education (during non election periods) to reach disfunctional electoral voters (excuse the word game) via many non traditional mediums (youtube, video games - see Obama, liquor adverts, teen mags et al), but also obligitory in the class room -it should be an examination subject in secondary schools (i.e. who ran for the last 3 elections, what were the key issues and what were the results, etc?). And, oh yes, it should also be a conformance requirement of new Canadian citizens (i.e. ex immigrants)!

BC Mary said...

Great Satan:

I was tempted to vote NONE OF THE ABOVE ... but you can't. Not with a pencil. Not on a black ballot.


Anonymous said...

TO: BC Mary

As I frequently have told Bill over the last eight years, the un-official motto of the Liberal Party of Canada . . . "WE ONLY CHEAT WHEN WE CAN'T WIN" . . .is fast becoming the motto for all of Canada's political parties.

Now I think it should be Latinized and put as the official motto on the Canadian Coat of Arms.

In Communist era Poland they had a long history of official elections with equally long lists of approved (butt-kissers) candidates for the citizen-worker to vote for.
After 1980 and the un-approved Solidarity Movement things started to change, and by 1989 things really changed and not just in Poland.

Next time around someone should have ten million NONE OF THE ABOVE stickers printed and mailed out on mass to the Canadian people as an option ... all be it for un-official use at the ballot box.

If that doesn't work, then all that is ultimately left are for a few thousand Roundheads to give our self-declared, on-the-take elites a taste of cold steel.