A lesson from Canada’s Green Party

Canada directly subsidizes its political parties, under the pretext of eliminating big money in campaigns. Now the new conservative administration threatens to end those subsidies.

Here is part of the response from Green Party executive director Maureen Murphy:

This could well be the biggest challenge ever to face the Green Party of Canada….

What does this mean for us? It means that the $1.95 GPC receives for every Canadian that voted for us will be lost. That amounts to more than 50% of the Green Party’s operating budget. Like all parties, we now have debts from our recent successful election campaign. Our priority is to pay these debts off quickly. To do so without the fair public financing system is a significant challenge. This threatens our very existence.

This is what happens when you become dependent on government for your existence. A change in political control can remove your subsidy overnight. Meanwhile, you’ve become hooked on that subsidy. In effect, the Green Party of Canada is admitting that it doesn’t have enough public support to continue operating as it has—it needs the forced financial support of taxpayers who do not agree with its message.

Of course, south of the border—here in the United States—it’s the two major parties that get the subsidies and protective regulations. Given the extremely low approval rating of Congress, and the fact that even in a pivotal election such as 2008 half the citizens don’t vote, we can only imagine what would happen to the Democrats and Republicans in a truly free political market.

9 Responses to “A lesson from Canada’s Green Party”

  1. Kazan Says:

    The Greens will be okay in either scenario. They now fund-raise over one million dollars a year and can ramp this up. For the first 25 years they operated on less than $30 – 50,000 a year.

    Regards, Kazan

  2. Ross Says:

    On the flip side, the Greens wouldn’t be as strong as they are in Canada without the subsidies, and neither would any minor party.

  3. bluegreenblogger Says:

    It’s not that simple at all. First, this quote was abstracted from a fundraising ask. That’s the height of irony, that you have claimed the Green Party of Canada is dependant upon public funding, while quoting a fundraising letter. Secondly, the news organisation that you lifted this quote from is avowedly, and categorically a Conservative partisan rag. They are rabidly anti anything not Conservative. Thirdly, you stated that the Green Party public financing is forced from taxpayers who do not agree with their message, which is obvious tripe, because the subsidy is awarded to every party, and is awarded at the rate of $1.95 for every vote cast for the party. Everybodies subsidy is awarded to the party with whom they most agree. That which received their ballot.

  4. Catholic Trotskyist Says:

    The Greens are still unsuccessful in Canada. Even with their higher vote percentages, they can’t seem to win a seat in Parliament, since Canada doesn’t have a seat in parliament. the greens stole the election from the Liberals and New Democrats, just like Nader did to Gore in the United States. A runoff voting system and or a merger with the New Democrats is necessary.

  5. Green Ferret Says:

    Even if the Canadian Greens merged with the New Democrats, there would still be three major parties, a situation that Canada’s plurality voting system is unable to deal with. What Canada really needs is a proportional representation system, so that each party’s share of parliament would be proportional to its public support.

  6. ETJB Says:

    Public funding of campaigns often runs into two tricky problems; some parties will be, often unfairly, excluded and it begs to question as to how much of a campaign is an expressive activity?

  7. Clark Says:

    ....speaking of political fundrai$ing…i have yet to meet a ‘conservative,’ ‘green,’ republicratarian, etcetercrats galore, who can honestly explain the origin, nature, etc. of those ‘thing$’ for which they ‘fundrai$e’...

    ...as one wag put it, “ooga fucking booga, you loud, brainwashed dopes!”..

    ...but do have a good day!.. ;o)

  8. Catholic Trotskyist Says:

    Yes, proportional representation is a good system also. Every country should adopt it.

    And Clark, I do understand, the origin, nature, and purpose of the fucking dollar. You should definitely join the Catholic Trotskyist Party, which supports an overhaul of the money policy and many other reforms. You should also register on ipr, you would be welcome there.

  9. Clark Says:

    ...thanks for the tip, cathtrot..

    ..i’m looking for a forum with LOTS of republicratarian folks to expo$e as monetary ignoramusses…a great hoot!..cathartic..

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