Over at National Post, is this story about Harper’s oft-unhelpful former advisor Tom Flanagan. Flanagan is suggesting that the publicly funded political party allowances that the Conservatives have pretended to hate since November 2008 are now so entrenched in the system as to make them impossible to eliminate.
To prove his point, Flanagan need only look as far as his own party to find irrefutable evidence.
So convinced are the Conservatives that the $1.95 per vote allowance is the stuff of pure evil and “a waste of taxpayer’s dollars,” that they haven’t failed to cash all $40 million worth of these subsidy cheques since they became government. Seriously, has it not occurred to anyone in Harper’s HQ that it’s more than a little absurd to argue against the subsidies while gladly pocketing $2.6 million worth of them every quarter?
It’s not unheard of for parties to willingly disadvantage themselves to in the name of principle. There is no reason why Roy Romanow, Ed Broadbent or any other of a long line of New Democrat politicians shouldn’t have been appointed to the Senate. Past prime ministers have asked them to. Indeed the advantage of having sage NDPers organizing fundraisers and recruiting candidates from their perch in the Senate would be as big an advantage for the party as it is for Liberals and Conservatives. Yet, New Democrats, long opposed to the undemocratic Senate have denied themselves this perk. Indeed Harper’s Reform Party said they were so opposed to MPs pensions that several of them opted out in the 1990s … only to opt back in later.
So, where is this kind of principled opposition when it comes to the Conservatives and the $1.95 subsidy? Seriously, if they are opposed to it, when will they stop cashing the cheques? Until they do, they have zero credibility on the matter and are just playing the same old politics as the Liberals. Until they do, they should stop complaining about something they are as much a party to as any other.