State funding based on ‘electoral performance’: Electoral process funding of parties and individual candidates promotes inequality, power and privilege

Now that the results of the 2021 Federal Election have been validated and certified in all but three ridings where recounts are underway, the Canada Elections Act requires the Chief Electoral Officer to immediately start reimbursing some candidates for their election expenses. Only those candidates who received at least 10 per cent of the valid votes cast are eligible.

Of the 2,010 candidates 997 have qualified for election expense reimbursement: 317 Conservatives; 314 Liberals; 261 NDP; 72 Bloc Québécois; 25 Peoples’ Party; 6 Greens; and 2 Independents. None of the candidates of the small parties qualified.

Regardless of what eligible candidates actually spent, once the vote counts are certified, a cheque in the amount of 15 per cent of the riding’s spending limit is issued to each qualified candidate. Public funds cover 60 per cent of their election campaign expenses and 90 per cent of their personal expenses, with personal expenses not subject to the election expense limit.

The average election spending limit for the 2021 election was just over $116,000, with the lowest in Charlottetown, PEI at $88,991 and the highest at $152,723.52 in British Columbia’s Kootenay–Columbia. The average initial installment is $17,500. The difference between the initial payment and what is actually due to the candidate gets sorted out once candidates file their election expense returns.

Figures on candidate expense reimbursements for the October 2019 federal election have not yet been published because of the short interval before the calling of the 2021 election.

Using 2015 figures, out of the 1,792 candidates a total of 983, or 55 per cent of them, met the qualification for reimbursement. Collectively, they received $42.7 million; 337 Liberal candidates received $14.1 million; 308 Conservatives, $16.7 million; 260 NDP candidates were reimbursed $9.4 million; 65 Bloc Quebecois candidates received $1.4 million; 9 Green Party candidates qualified and they received $773,165. There were three independents who received a combined $102,833.

Independent candidates and those of the small parties who hold political views that are blacklisted by the monopoly media, which control who is heard and who isn’t, are rarely able to meet the threshold of votes required for subsidization.

The linkage of election financing to the “performance” of candidates and parties is one of the ways that privilege and power is exercised through the cartel party control of the election law. It has nothing to do with using public funds to guarantee the equality of candidates and the right of all electors to an informed vote.

Renewal Update No. 41, October 7, 2021

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