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VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is seeking the removal of per-vote subsidies for political parties.

On Thursday, the Federation spoke in front of the Special Committee to Review Provisions of the Election Act, who are hearing arguments on the extension of the subsidy. The consultation is open until May 28th.

“Politicians are taking about $30 million from taxpayers for lawn signs and attack ads, and now they want more,” Kris Sims, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation told the legislative committee on Thursday. “Instead of paying for partisan campaigns, that money could pay the salaries of 50 new full-time paramedics for 10 years.”

The CTF referenced a 2017 CFAX radio interview where Premier John Horgan said he had no intention of creating a per-vote subsidy. The political funding has taxpayers paying into parties based on the number of votes they get.

After the election, amendments were made to the act, with payments beginning in 2018 at a rate of $2.50 per vote from the last provincial general election. The subsidy has declined to $1.75 per vote, expiring in 2022.

The last payout in January had the NDP receive $1.57 million, the B.C. Liberals got $1.11 million, and  $497,570 went to the B.C. Green Party.

The CTF says $20 million will go from taxpayers to political parties by 2022.

“If politicians believe in their principles and ideas, they should get off of their backsides and go share that vision to get donations from willing people because mooching off taxpayers is wrong,” said Sims. “Our democracy doesn’t need political welfare from taxpayers, political parties should raise their own funds.”

The federal per-vote subsidy was cancelled in 2011.

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