For Your Information
State Financing of Political Parties and Candidates in the 43rd Federal Election
In the name of enhancing the democracy, the Canada Elections Act permits parties and candidates which reach prescribed thresholds of the vote to be reimbursed for a substantial portion of their expenses. The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada opposes state funding of political parties or candidates. It says the state should fund the electoral process, not the parties.
In the 2019 Federal Election, preliminary election expense limits for a party fielding candidates in all 338 ridings is $28 million, of which $14 million will be reimbursed. The Bloc Québécois, the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party and the NDP will all receive reimbursements because they each surpassed two per cent of the national vote. The preliminary vote count shows that the People’s Party of Canada received 1.6 per cent of the national vote, falling short of the two per cent threshold to qualify for reimbursements.
The average election expense limit for individual candidates is based on an allotted amount of money per elector in their riding. In this election the amount averaged about $83,000 per candidate with the highest in Edmonton-Wetaskiwin at over $124,000 and the lowest in Labrador at $21,015. To qualify for reimbursement of expenses, a candidate must receive at least ten per cent of the vote cast in that riding.
Seventy-two of the 78 Bloc Québécois candidates; 306 of the 318 Conservative candidates; 49 of the 338 Green Party candidates; 318 out of 338 Liberal candidates; and 234 of the 338 NDP candidates qualify for reimbursements. Of the People’s Party candidates, only Maxime Bernier qualified, with 28.40 per cent of the valid votes in his riding. Three independent candidates have met the threshold for reimbursement: Archie MacKinnon, Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson-Raybould.
As in the past, election campaign expenses (advertising, meetings, etc) will be reimbursed at a rate of 60 per cent. Candidate’s travel and living expenses and other personal expenses are not subject to the spending limit, but eligible for reimbursement at the same rate. Expenses for child care are reimbursed at a rate of 90 per cent.
As soon as the official returns are published, the Chief Electoral Officer informs the Receiver General of the names of the qualifying candidates. Even before their returns are filed, candidates are issued cheques for 15 per cent of the spending limit. The balance due to them is paid after they have filed their returns and receipts. If they have been overpaid, they must return the overpayment to the Receiver General.
The election expense reimbursement regime serves as a form of collateral for candidates and parties. They can go to the bank and use the expected state subsidy to get loans to finance their campaigns. A candidate that does not have this privileged advantage and connection to a cartel party, will not be able to get a bank to agree to fund them, and personal loans are prohibited.