Saturday, August 05, 2006

Political Financing: how much?

Perhaps one of the most important issue that involves the Electoral Process is the "Financing" of Election; from the nomination of Candidates to the campaign during the "period" and also to electing Leadership of the Political Party. And here should the Law pertaining to contributions, process of recording of contributions and donation to Candidates, political party and to political association should be clearly defined and enforcement should also be emphasized.

For Canada at Present Electoral Financing Comes from Three sources: (I will note as I go along the part that is in the plan to be scrapped or reformed).

1.. Individual Citizen-Every citizen is encouraged to contribute and participate in the process. Contribution for individual as of present, is limited to $5400 for a registered party, candidate or association. As an incentive to encourage contributions by individuals, a 75 percent tax credit, for donation of $400 and a maximum of $650 Tax Credit for $1250 or more. Although most party member or individual may contribute less, the maximum limit will assure the voting public that no individual, no matter how rich he or she maybe can influence the outcome of the election by unlimited contributions. Any fraud involves in this matter is under the Criminal code and will be enforced by the police upon the advice of Election Canada.

2..Corporation and Labour Union-Maximum contributions allowed of $1000. This one is subject to debate at the moment and some quarters wanted it scrapped altogether. Since to my understanding, there is still no limit to how many candidates and parties and political association both the corporation and the union can contribute. And the biggest loophole so far and it is being addressed at the moment is that the Officers and Families of two entities can avoid the limitation by going the route of Individual Donation. This come to light at present as the Liberal Party is now in the process of electing its Leader. One of the leadership candidate was exposed to have received donation from the whole family members of Corporate "biggie" to the individual Maximum and was forced to return the money. Corporation can also go around this, by using their employees to contribute to the favoured party or candidates at the company’s cost. This is one reason why our Chief Electoral Officer wanted a detailed list of all contributors and the amount contributed and the records should be kept for at least two years and subject to audit by Election Canada and Revenue Canada.

3..Government..The Government will pay $l.75 (dollar seventy five cents) per vote received by the party in the previous general election, provided the party has received in the last election either the 2% of the valid votes nationally or 5 % of the votes in the ridings where the party ran a candidate. Also the Government will reimburse 50% of the Registered Parties Election expense as well as 50% of Individual candidate expense provided he or she received at least a 10% vote cast in the riding..Caveat: For those who want to run for office, anyone over 18 is qualified, no minimum qualification required, but a deposit of some amount is also required and will be forfeited is such candidate can not get enough vote as per guideline for "nuisance candidates". This one is for people, who want their names in the ballot but won’t even go out and vote for themselves. You abuse the system you pay for it, in money or in time. Have your choice..