Paying for the Bloc

Taxpayers across Canada are paying, disproportionately, to fund a party dedicated to the country’s destruction

Even Chantal Hébert gets the odd thing wrong. Here she falls into a common trap on the subject of the per-vote subsidy and the Bloc Québécois:

According to federal Democratic Reform Minister Steven Fletcher, many Canadians are frustrated with the notion that their taxes are funding a sovereignist party. Given that the subsidy is based on a per-vote formula, that is a bogus argument, unworthy of Fletcher’s ministerial title.

The Quebecers who support the Bloc are taxpayers, with no less right to have the $1.95 subsidy tied to their vote channelled to the party of their choice.

The last part  is right. But the implication in the first — that  taxpayers at large are not funding the Bloc, because Bloc supporters are taxpayers and the subsidy is “per vote” — is flat wrong. The Quebecers who vote Bloc do indeed “channel” the subsidy to the party of their choice. But they don’t pay it. The money doesn’t come from them. It comes from general revenues.

These revenues come, disproportionately, from people with incomes above the national average. Quebecers’ incomes are, on average, below the national average, and if I’m not mistaken Bloc voters’ incomes are, on average, lower still. Which means, yes, there is an element of redistribution in the subsidy: taxpayers across Canada  are paying, disproportionately, to fund a party dedicated to the country’s destruction.