Opposition fights cuts to party subsidies

Ending subsidies to become key campaign issue for Conservatives

The Liberals and NDP are opposing the Harper’s efforts to kill subsidies for political parties, saying that it is a self-serving pursuit that hampers democracy. In an interview with Postmedia News, Harper revealed that he would make ending the subsidies a key part of the Conservatives’ campaign platform. “A subsidy where parties make no effort to raise money is not acceptable, I don’t think, to Canadian taxpayers,” said the Prime Minister. Opponents to the subsidy cut say Harper is hampering other parties’ ability to raise funds outside of the private sector, giving the Tories a big advantage because of their ties to big business. NDP leader Jack Layton defended the subsidies as a key element to democratic reform, and said, “you’re going to end up with those who are able to ante up the bucks getting heard. And that is not democratic. It’s not right.” The subsidies were introduced in 2003 by the Chrétien government in order to ban contributions from businesses and unions.

National Post

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