MLPC’s Program for Political Renewal of the Electoral Process
No Election Without Selection!
Fund the Process, Not the Parties!
Elections Canada is used to subsidize the cartel parties by covering large portions of the expenses they incur during elections.
Elections Canada reports that the current election is projected to cost $600 million. This is more than the 2019 43rd General Election which cost $502 million or approximately $18.35 for each registered elector. The increased expense is attributed to pandemic-related expenses such as single-use pencils, masks and hand-sanitizer.
According to Public Accounts 2020, in the 43rd General Election, $79.8 million, or 15 per cent of the total cost of the election expenses paid by Elections Canada went directly to the parties and candidates which make up the cartel party system in the form of election expense reimbursements.
Of this amount, election expense reimbursements to candidates cost $33.3 million. Only candidates who receive 10 per cent of the valid ballots case are eligible to receive reimbursements.
The cartel parties received $43.5 million for their election expenses: (Liberals and Conservatives received $14.1 million and $14.4 million respectively, the NDP $11.2 million and so on.)
Parties are reimbursed 50 per cent of their election expenses and 90 per cent of accessibility expenses for things such as sign-language interpreters and creating websites and videos accessible to the hearing- and sight-impaired. To qualify, a party’s candidates must obtain two per cent of the national vote or five per cent in the ridings where they fielded candidates.
In addition, $1.6 million was paid to the auditors of 1,008 candidates. Only those candidates who spent more than $10,000 had to procure an auditor. Electoral district associations (EDA) do not receive reimbursements, but are also entitled to have the audits of their election campaign returns subsidized, accounting for $848,875 of the total. One hundred and sixty-six EDAs received auditor subsidies averaging $3,100 for a total of $526,875, while two individual auditors claimed $106,500 and $205,500 for serving several undisclosed EDAs at the same time.
The proportion of “election costs” attributable to subsidies for the cartel parties is actually higher if one includes the massive amount of free coverage they get from the media and the leaders’ debates held at a cost of $5.4 million. Other hidden subsidies include the use of Elections Canada workers to perform activities that used to be done by political party campaigners, such as sending party workers to the polls to find out who had voted as part of their “get-out-the-vote” campaigns. Since 2006, this work was transferred to Elections Canada workers who provide the information about who has voted both digitally and in paper format (known as bingo cards).
The hidden cost borne by the Public Budget Office to cost the programs of the cartel parties is another expense borne by the Public Purse though it is not part of the Elections Canada accounting.
All of this is based on an electoral system said to be “fair and free” but which does not recognize the two most fundamental democratic principles: 1)that citizens, not political parties, must be able to select candidates for election because these candidates are then said to represent them in government, and 2)an informed vote based on treating all participants equally. So long as it is a system of party government, then all parties should be treated equally. Canada’s electoral law, however, gives privileged positions to some parties at the expense of others and amongst the privileged parties, favours some over others.
The MLPC’s program for political renewal of the political process includes the calls No Election Without Selection and Fund the Process, Not the Parties. As the Public Accounts which list the amount of subsidies the cartel parties receive shows, the electoral system is not representative of working Canadians but of narrow private interests with access to positions of power and privilege.