Dear Rick Dykstra, Member of Parliament, St. Catharines,
My letter today is written out of concern for the budget bill to be introduced on June the 6th, 2011. Specifically, I would like to articulate my opposition to the ideologically motivated removal of per-vote subsidies awarded to federal parties netting over 2% of the national vote. While the fiscal deficit must be addressed, it cannot simply be substituted for democratic deficit. It is a disappointing characteristic of Stephen Harper’s governance that parliamentary measures are used to stifle democracy and keep information from the public. The per-vote subsidy is an important way of representing Canadians and their differing ideas that are often underrepresented in parliament due to the vote loss of our First-Past-The-Post voting system. Defunding mainstream political parties from stable consistent revenue severely disadvantages non-governing parties.
The cost of the per-vote subsidy is argued as unnecessary, unproductive, and enabling posturing of political parties to be in constant election mode under minority governments. I personally do not understand the Harper Government’s blatant disregard to free and open discussion and collaborative decision making. When details of detainees in Afghanistan arose, the Harper Government prorogued parliament for months. When Harper formed government he promised electoral reform for the senate, and he proceeded to stack the senate with Conservatives so that they could kill a climate bill passed by a majority of MPs. As a majority governing party, the Conservatives will be in a greater position to offer private contracts to conservative friendly areas as was done with the stimulus funding. Accumulating selected public favour and defunding opposition parties are dramatic insulations of power that are inappropriate for a politically diverse Canada.
This concentration of power is antithetical to the mandate Canadians delivered on May 2nd; 60% of Canadians voted against a Harper majority. It’s clear; Canadians are not settled on an electoral system or a party that best represents them. One conclusion that can be drawn is that the Canadian people did not vote for the Harper Conservatives’ power in parliament to translate into a chokehold on dissent. What Canada needs now is cooperation from all political parties elected and policies that acknowledge that the Conservative ideology is the minority in Canada.
Mr. Dykstra, as a citizen of St. Catharines I urge you to bring these concerns to your caucus. Further, I urge you to lobby for the maintenance of the per-vote subsidy, to lobby for the maintenance of decency and democracy in Canada, and if necessary, I urge you to speak and vote against the budget if such concessions are refused.
I hope my concerns resonate with you and your caucus and appropriate action to save the per-vote subsidy are taken.