Undemocratic and Exclusionary Essence of the Electoral Process Said to Be Representative

On October 21, Quebec's political parties were informed by Élections Québec of the allowances they will receive for the period from October 4, 2022 to October 3, 2023.

How is this calculated? Élections Québec allocates $1.71 per elector, in accordance with section 82 of the Election Act. This $1.71 is multiplied by the total number of registered voters -- 6,302,789 -- for a total of $10,777,769.19. This amount is distributed in proportion to the percentage of valid votes obtained by each party. It is not $1.71 for each vote received by a political party, but $1.71 per elector.

At the election, there were 6,302,789 registered voters; 4,110,700 exercised their right to vote and 2,192,089 voters did not vote. This means that even if an elector did not vote -- in rejection of all of the candidates, disinterest, the difficulty of voting or any other reason -- Élections Québec still gives non-voters a financial value, $1.71 each, which is distributed among the parties. Even if an elector does not support any of the parties and does not vote, their refusal to vote is still recovered by those parties. In other words, even if an elector does not vote, he or she is still a taxpayer to the parties, especially to the parties in the National Assembly who receive the largest share of the pie.

According to the table below, $10,777,769.19 was distributed among the parties. The four political parties in the National Assembly will receive a total of $9,207,768.05, which represents 85.43 per cent of the total amount distributed.

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In addition to these allocations, in September -- 10 days after the writ calling the election was issued -- Élections Québec paid to each political party an additional $1 per vote obtained by it in the 2018 election. A total of $6,169,722 was issued to political parties.

Of this amount,

- $2,314,265.58 (37.5%) was issued to the CAQ,

- $1,534,835.80 (24.9%) to the Quebec Liberal Party,

- $1,054,865.46 (17.1%) to the PQ, and

- $995,847.76 (16.1%) to Québec Solidaire.

These parties therefore received 95.6 per cent of this additional allocation for the election.

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In addition to these amounts paid by the State, other sums were also paid. There is the matching revenue that applies to the contributions of electors to political parties. The maximum allowable contribution per elector to a political party is $100. For every $1.00 contributed, Élections Québec contributes $2.50 for a maximum of $20,000. Thereafter, for every additional $1.00 contributed, Élections Québec contributes $1.00 to a maximum of $200,000.

Also, during the election year, an elector may contribute an additional $100. This means that an additional matching amount is provided of up to $250,000, which favours the four cartel parties in the National Assembly.

In 2021, matching revenues totalling $1,330,087.50 were paid to political parties, independent members and independent provincial candidates.

From January 1 to December 31, 2021, $10,176,582.86 in allowances was paid to provincial political parties.

The government also reimburses half of the annual audit costs of political parties, up to a maximum of $15,000. It reimburses as well election expenses for candidates and parties. After receiving and verifying the return of election expenses, Élections Québec reimburses 50 per cent of the election expenses incurred and paid by any candidate who is declared elected or who receives at least 15 per cent of the valid votes cast and to any party that receives at least one per cent of the valid votes cast.

The election demonstrated the urgent need for democratic renewal at all levels. The financing of political parties is part of the need for renewal because, as can be seen, it is part of the stranglehold of the cartel parties on the Legislature, from which the people are de facto excluded from the decision-making processes. According to the electoral law, during an election, except in exceptional cases, an individual or organization that does not act on behalf of a political party or a candidate cannot make a partisan intervention if this intervention incurs a cost.

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec (PMLQ) demands that the use of public funds to finance private entities such as political parties be abolished. The state should fund 100 per cent of the political process to ensure the full participation of the electorate in political life, rather than funding political parties in which barely two per cent of the population are members.

(PMLQ. Translated from the original french by TML)

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 10 - October 2022

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