Ontario Conservative leader Doug Ford is standing by his pledge to eradicate the province’s taxpayer subsidies to political parties, saying it’s nothing more than “political welfare.”
Ford Press Secretary Melanie Paradis told The Daily Caller Friday that Doug Ford is adamant that the policy must be changed.
“Doug Ford remains committed to eliminating the per vote subsidy. Political parties need to appeal to grassroots supporters – they should not recieve taxpayer funded welfare.”
Ford had originally posted on Facebook in February, “I do not believe the government should be taking money from hard-working taxpayers and giving it to political parties. Corporate welfare is wrong, and political party welfare is equally wrong; I will put an end to both.”
As the National Post reports, the pledge has been denounced by the governing Ontario Liberals of Premier Kathleen Wynne, who dismiss it as an empty threat and “Trump-like bluster.”
Liberal Party executive director David Clarke told the Post that the taxpayer subsidy prevents well-heeled donors, whether in corporate power or big labor, from buying political influence.
“If Ford were to cut the subsidy, how would he finance a campaign?” Clarke asked. “Through corporate donations from the companies who are getting his tax breaks? Or, would politics only be open to the wealthy — people just like him?”
Ironically, the Wynne government began extracting taxpayer money to pay for political parties in 2016 — a full year after the federal Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper rolled back a similar scheme that was funding national political parties at public expense.
The change in policy has not resulted in politicians begin bought by the highest bidder. Under Elections Canada law, political donations are restricted to individiuals and limited to a maximum of $1,550 per person.
The Conservatives supported the subsidy under its former leader, Patrick Brown. Parties initially collected $2.71 in public funds for every vote received in the last election. The plan is to reduce the per vote subsidy to $2.