Stop the Clawback of the Local Refund

The Carleton Conservative Association has proposed an amendment to the Constitution of the Conservative Party of Canada that will stop the “clawback” by the Conservative Fund Canada of 50% of the refund of election expenses paid by Elections Canada to local campaigns.

Check out and support our proposed constitutional amendment #190 on ideas-lab.ca under Conservative Fund Canada.
(https://ideas-lab.ca/final-constitution-submissions/forums/topic/9-5-1/)

What to know more ?  Keep reading.

REFUNDS FROM ELECTIONS CANADA

Under the Canada Elections Act (Section 477), the local campaign of a candidate is refunded 60% of the money spent on the local election campaign.  Generally, the surplus funds from the local campaign which include the refund are transferred back to the local electoral district association.  This is used as “seed money” to support the local fundraising activities leading up to the next election.

Following the 2015 federal election, local Conservative campaigns received an average refund of $54,000 for a total across the country of almost $16.8 million.  Check out the 2015 refund to your local campaign.  In Carleton, we got back $88,373.  We know that we will be in for a fight in 2019 and we are working hard to be ready.  The refund from Elections Canada helps us reach our goal.

The national party receives a similar refund (Section 444) from Elections Canada of 50% of the expense of the national campaign.  Following the 2015 election, the Conservative Party of Canada got a refund of the expenses of the national campaign of almost $21 million from Elections Canada.

ELIMINATION OF PER VOTE SUBSIDY

In 2014, the Minister of State for Democratic Reform, Pierre Poilievre, MP, Carleton introduced the Fair Elections Act, Bill C-23.  On second reading, the Minister pointed out that the Fair Elections Act  “keeps everyday citizens in charge of democracy.”  With the support of the Conservative government of the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, it became law on June 19, 2014.  One of the important changes was the elimination of the taxpayer-funded “per vote subsidy” to political parties.  This change put individual Canadians back in the “drivers seat” when it comes to funding political parties.

DONOR CHOICE

The Canada Elections Act puts individual Canadians in charge of where they make their donations.  Every year, donors get to choose whether they donate at the local level, the national level or both.  Separate limits are established for donations at the local and national levels.  We should respect the decision of our donors whether to give to their local electoral district association (or local campaign during an election) or at the national level to the Conservative Fund Canada.

Almost all of the fundraising done at a local level relies on countless hours of effort by volunteers.  These committed individuals reach out to their families, friends, neighbours, community leaders and local business for donations.  It is the epitome of “grassroots” support.

At the national level, much of the fundraising is done professionally.  The success of this fundraising effort, and the national election campaign it supports, is critical to the future of the Conservative Party of Canada and the electoral success of Conservative candidates across the country.  We are fortunate to have one of the most effective national fundraising “machines” in the country.  With the support of Conservatives from across Canada, they have gone a long way to closing the gap created by the elimination of the taxpayer-funded subsidy.

FINANCIAL ROAD TO 2019 PLAN

In October 2017, the Conservative Fund Canada’s plan was officially formalized with National Council.  It put in place a plan to ask for 50% of the local campaign’s rebate from Elections Canada.  Based on 2015 campaign finances, this would amount to more than $8 million going from local campaigns to the Conservative Fund Canada.  For Carleton alone, it would be more than $44,000 taken out of what we have available for the next election campaign.  It is 30% of what we spent on the last election.  It would put the local EDA in a big hole!

Regrettably, this decision to “clawback” the local Elections Canada rebate was taken without reaching out to local electoral district associations, their  fundraisers, members or donors.

The reasons given by President, Scott Lamb, to explain the decision just don’t hold water.

Since when do Conservatives make decisions because “the Liberals and NDP have long had a program ….” ?  “Qualifying Not for Profit Organizations” are eligible for a 50% rebate of the GST they paid.  So what’s the scoop?  To qualify you need to have at least 40% of your revenue come from the federal government.  Without including some of the Elections Canada rebate from local organizations on top of the 50% rebate the Conservative Fund Canada receives directly from Elections Canada , they claim they would not “qualify.”

Conservatives should work to shut down this tax loophole, not get in bed with the Liberals and NDP.  The Election Canada rebate is  a return of expenses paid with donations for which Canadians already receive a very generous tax credit.  Should political parties take a GST rebate on those same dollars?  We think not!

Since when did we start “robbing Peter to pay Paul” ?  The President points out that the national campaign has almost closed the gap (thanks to generous Conservative donors from across the country).  Just because some local associations have been prudent in their financial management (or should we say “conservative”!) is no reason to ask for 50% of the local Elections Canada rebate.

LET’S GIVE CONSERVATIVES A SAY

The National Convention in Halifax at the end of August is a great opportunity to ask Conservatives from across the country what they think about the Conservative Fund Canada’s proposal to take 50% of the refund that local campaigns get under the Canada Elections Act.

Help us get it onto the floor for discussion and debate.

Get your EDA to vote to support Carleton’s Constitutional Amendment #190 getting to the floor of the convention.

It is time the grassroots of the Conservative Party of Canada had a say.  It is time for National Council and the Conservative Fund Canada to listen to Conservative members from across the country.  It is time to stop the clawback!

Want to know more?  Please call us at 613 791-8679 or contact us by email at fundraising@carletonconservativeassociation.ca

See you in Halifax!