The following is Party Leader Keith MacIntyre’s submission to the May 2021 BC Legislature’s Parliamentary Committee hearings on the taxpayer-funder per votes subsidies which are given every year to BC’s big political parties.
My name is Keith MacIntyre, I am the current Leader of the BC Libertarian Party, a political party in BC since 1986.
We are vehemently against per vote subsidies and believe they should be cancelled immediately. That they even exist shows the immorality of large political parties. If a political party cannot function on donations from their party members, they should not be relying on taxpayers to fund their party, especially between elections.
According to reports filed for the last election, the BC NDP Party received approximately $5.5 million in donations in addition to approximately $1.6-$2 million per year in vote subsidies since 2018. They did not report an election expense reimbursement on the front page of their application, however form SM-CR shows that they received a $2.15 million reimbursement of expenses during the last election.
The largest expense was advertising at almost $3 million followed by travel at over $400,000. $1.8 million was for television ads and $266,000 for social media
The BC Liberal Party received $3.2 million in donations, and $1.5 million in election expense reimbursements, as well as $1.6-$2 million in voter subsidies, with a reduction to $1.1 million after the last election.
The largest expense was advertising at almost $2.26 million followed by ‘tour expenses’ at $300,000. Over half of the advertising ($1.1 million) was spent on social media ads, with another $573,000 on television ads.
Half of those campaign expenses for both parties were then subsequently reimbursed.
I think one of the biggest issues with the divisive politics that we have in our country today is with the overuse of marketing and manipulation of the electorate through social media. Do you think if taxpayers knew how much of their money was being given to Mark Zuckerberg they would be happy? I know I’m not. By eliminating the per-vote subsidies (and campaign expense reimbursements), the parties will be held accountable to their donors for how the money is spent, rather than freely spending taxpayer money for their own agendas
As a party, we would have refused the subsidy. That said, we also believe that the annual allowances are discriminatory. Who is to say what votes are actually important and what votes aren’t. The 8,360 people that cast ballots for our party likely think that their votes matter, however according to the Act we are not worthy of receiving the $14,630 that would have been provided to us if there were no percentage vote limits. Either give the vote subsidy to every party, or give it to none.
I think if taxpayers knew that they are funding attack ads, they would oppose a per-vote subsidy.
I would like to ask the committee why was it decided that the per-vote subsidy would extend into 2022? 5 years seems like an excessive amount of time. I think this subsidy was a complete misuse of taxpayer money from the start, and the government should not have the ability to legislate funding their political parties.
In conclusion, political parties have had more than enough time to adjust their fundraising from the rules put in place several years ago and this subsidy should be immediately cancelled.