I received this press release, at least I presume it to be such, through an old friend. It comes from the Communist Party of Canada. And while I certainly do not think it replaces a more overwhelming need for a change to a more truly Proportional Electoral System, over the current First Past the Post system, which facilitates Big Party, and big "pro-business" party dominance of the Canadian democratic system, this is nonetheless a politically more "useful" and allows for a more relatively democratic situation overall, than has been the norm within our still limited concept of democracy within Canadian capitalism.
For everyones information.
Date: Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:08:11 PM Canada/Eastern
To: "Strong Communities/Coalitions"
The Communist Party of Canada is pleased to report that another important legal victory has been won for smaller registered parties at the federal level. Justice Matlow of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has just released his judgment on the joint challenge of the Party Financing Act which imposes a 2% threshold of the vote which federally-registered political parties must achieve in order to receive party financing. The challenge was brought by representatives of the Marijuana Party, the Canadian Action Party, the Communist Party of Canada, and the Green Party.
The Court has ruled convincingly that this legislation is unconstitutional in that it unfairly discriminates against smaller parties, and has therefore struck down the provision and directed the federal government to compensate all smaller parties retroactively dating back to the 2004 general election. In practical terms, this means that parties which received less than 2% of the total vote in the 2004 and 2006 federal elections must be paid $1.75 per vote received by their candidates in those elections, just as the larger parties receive this funding.
It remains to be seen if the Attorney-General’s office will seek to appeal this decision. The ruling however appears unassailable on legal grounds, and is completely consistent with the Figueroa decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2003. Therefore, any move by the Harper government to appeal this decision would constitute a transparent, mean-spirited attack on the smaller parties.
Our thanks go out to all those who have expressed their opposition over the past number of years against unfair, undemocratic and discriminatory election rules in this country. Your support has been an important factor in this latest victory, and in the Figueroa decision of 2003 which laid the groundwork for Justice Matlow's ruling
Kimball Cariou, Communist Party candidate in Vancouver Kingsway in the January 2006
Electoral-law edict boosts small parties Funding rules stunted growth, judge finds.
An Ontario judge has struck down an electoral law that permitted large federal political parties to fill their coffers with public money at the expense of smaller parties.
Superior Court Judge Ted Matlow ruled yesterday that the law is undemocratic, unequal and stunts the growth of small parties for no valid reason.
The money will be awarded retroactively to 2003 and, including interest charges, brings the total the parties will share to approximately $500,000.
"We're thrilled," said Tracy Parsons, leader of the Progressive Canadian Party. "Another piece of democracy has been served. I can't say that I'm 100-per-cent in favour of tax dollars being used to fund political parties, but I'm certainly not in favour of them funding only select parties."
The judgment was a major victory for a coalition of seven small political parties that argued that the law -- which took effect in 2004 -- violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by unfairly giving $1.75 for each vote cast only to federal parties with more than 2 per cent of the national popular vote.
"I consider that the existence of the threshold diminishes public confidence in the electoral process and encourages a public perception that the threshold exists only to benefit the major political parties, who alternate, from time to time, in forming the government and are in a position to maintain it," Judge Matlow said yesterday.
He said that having an eligibility threshold "perverts" democracy by forcing small parties to make a tactical decision whether to target certain ridings in order to reach the percentage of the total vote they need to trigger the payments.