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Letter: RE: Vote subsidy hypocrisy (September 13, 2011)

To the Editor,

It is our Government’s long-standing position that political parties should rely on their supporters for financing, supporters who choose to fund the activities of political parties.

The “per-vote subsidy” to fund political parties is, in fact, a tax-on-voting. Canadians should have choice over whether or not they want to fund political activities. A vote at the ballot-box shouldn’t mean a donation to a political party.

We are acting quickly to phase out this tax-on-voting. We believe unequivocally that political parties should do their own fundraising, not live-off of tax-payer funded handouts.

Additionally, we’ve taken steps to ensure that those choosing to make donations funding political activities do not include corporations or big unions.

While these steps on political donations have been significant and successful in helping to eliminate undue influence by corporations and big unions in our political process, the current rules on political loans allow unions and corporations to provide loans to parties, associations and candidates – including leadership candidates. We introduced legislation in the last Parliament to end this practice and we intend to do so again.

Unfortunately, Mr. Atamanenko and the NDP appear not share our commitment to ending undue influence by corporations and big unions in our political process.

As the NDP begins a leadership race, ordinary Canadians and ordinary party members have had less of a say than big union bosses on the process for choosing the next leader of Canada’s Official Opposition.

To prevent any appearance of conflict of interest, I encourage the NDP, its National Council, and leadership candidates to live-up to the spirit of our previously introduced legislation and to support our initiatives to eliminate undue influence by corporations and big unions in political loans.  

I strongly encourage the NDP’s leadership candidates to refuse political loans from big unions or special interest groups. I also encourage the NDP to ban the use of big union or corporate money to finance their upcoming leadership convention. Refusing to do so would only underline the NDP’s addiction to big labour and big unions.

Sincerely,

Tim Uppal, minister of State (Democratic Reform)