Well, wasn’t that a swell kick off to the political season.
The media got an email on Saturday night of the long weekend to say that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would be visiting the GG instead of going to Flora’s funeral today. The announcement was expected all week; unfortunately Justin Trudeau didn’t seem to have gotten the email. He was on a flight to Vancouver to participate in the Gay Pride Parade.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Just kinda stupid since he missed his media availability this morning. Even Liz May was up early to get her 10 minutes of fame on CBC and CTV. Oh well.
In case you were having a swim or taking the kids to camp or panhandling for change to pay for the family dinner, here’s what happened…
The PM came out swinging, saying he was calling this election to make sure everyone followed the Election rulebook and campaigned on the same footing. Guess he forgot that he’s been using millions of taxpayers dollars to run his own not-so-clandestine campaign underlined by the Canada Wordmark and with that dreadful da-da-ta-da opening of the hockey song also known as Canada’s national anthem playing in the background.
For those who missed the PMs speech — Andrew Coyne get out of the lake! You’re sister’s running for the Greens, for Gawd sake — Harper started off on shaky ground, saying that the campaign should be funded only by political donations. He got pretty slammed by each and every crabby reporter who chimed in that, in fact, half of the money for the election was coming from taxpayers because political parties get rebates for every dollar raised.
I guess it’s like a pre-back-to-school BOGO sale (contribute 50 cents and you get the second 50 cents free). That doesn’t even count the fact that, under CRA rules, people can go to rubber chicken dinners
and listen to Senator Mike Duffy for a maximum political tax credit of $1,275 each year.
CRA helpfully informs us that when you file your income tax return, you can take advantage of a tax credit. The credit is much more generous than the tax credit for charitable donations. The credit is:
- 75% of your contribution up to $400,
- 50% of the next $350, and
- 33-1/3% of the last $525 (but see maximum).
The maximum credit is $650.
That my friends, is a good deal in anyone’s book. The dinner pretty much pays for itself!
By my calculation that means that the combined rebate plus the political tax credit means that you, Joe and Jane taxpayer, YOU really are funding the entire campaign.
That will certainly piss off a lot of people.
The campaign favors Stephen Harper in another way, of course, because he raised so much money during the Duffy period. He’s sitting on the motherlode and can dole out money in advance to the maximum financial advantage.
Think of Harper and the Tories like Money Mart. They hand out bundles of money then take it back at a huge profit — enough to make even members of Shark Tank salivate.
The rest of the parties have to rob Peter to pay Paul. If the bus breaks down, Liz May will be pushing it herself!
Anyways, we’re the big losers however you cut it.
It’s our money, Steve. Stop lying. It’s not a classy way to start a campaign.
So enjoy the election everyone. It will be with us through Labour Day and also through Thanksgiving. By the time it’s over we will be savouring a very smelly and costly carcass.