Wednesday, 20 July 2011
Sun Media: Power to the Wealthy Elites!
Well, I've been reading the July 10, 2011 edition of Winnipeg's biggest tabloid, the Winnipeg Sun*. On good ol' page 11 we have an ever so enlightening Sun Comment, "Au revoir to vote subsidies". The basic premise is that slashing vote subsidies is an a-okay idea. The reason? As substantive as most things written in it's UK inspiration and namesake, it goes...
As we argued here a year ago, and it was obviously clearly heard by the Harper Conservatives, the voter subsidy had to end the moment the Tories secured their majority.Because public financing of campaigns aided a party many Canadians don't like, that proves it's a bad idea. That's it.
And now it will end, by 2015.
The BQ's final quarterly cheque under the old scheme of $2-per-vote, and the last payment from the 2008 federal election, totalled $703,364.
That's a lot of cash to hand to traitors.
However, if it had to rely on party donations from the separatist faithful, as it soon will, the Bloc would have died out years ago.
There's a few other lovely insinuations. The BQ is an incompetent fundraising entity and their supporters are stingy. What isn't dealt with is how working class much of the BQ's base was and, as such, how they were less likely to have the deep pockets of Harper's country club Conservative networks.
Which gets to the real problem. Parties base their policies to cater towards those who own them. In Canada, where votes directly lead to money, parties cater their policies more towards voters (a cap on contributions to parties also helps)**. With this connection severed, parties will become more distant from most voters and instead concentrate on a narrower slice of fundraising networks filled with upper middle class and affluent donors. This may be a dream come true for Harper's country club Conservatives, but it's a disaster that'll leave Canada's working class in the dust, politically speaking***.
As Thomas Ferguson would say (while describing the utterly dysfunctional state of American politics):
Fundamentally, the problem of money and politics is very simple: campaigning is costly, much more costly than classical democratic theory has acknowledged. Some way has to be found to pay for it. We may take it as an axiom that those who pay for the campaign will control it. So the choices boil down to just two: either we all pay a little, through public financing of campaigns, or a relative handful of the super-rich end up controlling the system because they pay for the campaign.While a lower cap how on much parties can use during campaigns broadens influence, so that even middle class donors can have considerable sway, the problem still exists in Canada and will worsen thanks to Harper's destructive move, cheerlead by that trash tabloid known as the Sun.
*I read a complimentary copy; it'd really pain me to support that paper directly.
**Mind you, this system realy never completely overwhelmed the deep-pocketed donor pull. Throughout the 1990s the Liberal Party was still quite centre-right, with it's massive austerity program.
***Though a similar, perversely deep-pocket dominated system left America's working class in the dust financially as well.