Political parties took more than $3.7 million through federal wage subsidy: CTF

THE Canadian Taxpayers Federation released analysis on Tuesday showing political parties took more than $3.7 million through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

The British Columbia Liberal Party reportedly took the highest amount among provincial political parties.

“This money was supposed to be for shopkeepers to keep their doors open and their employees paid, not for political parties to pay their staffers who can almost always work from home,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “Why should our tax dollars being paying for someone to write their next political party attack ad?”

According to the Elections B.C. financial report data examined by the CTF, the B.C. Liberal Party took $329,603 in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

While the federal NDP took about $325,000, the B.C. chapter of the party does not appear to have received money from the fund.

Federal parties took about $3.2 million through the wage subsidy, according to 2020 financial statements published by Elections Canada. The Bloc Québécois was the only party in the House of Commons that did not take the wage subsidy.

“Political parties should have never helped themselves to millions of dollars that were meant to help struggling businesses keep their workers employed during the pandemic,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director with the CTF. “Political parties exploited these subsidies and they need to make sure every penny is paid back.”

B.C. political parties have already taken about $30 million from taxpayers through the per-vote subsidy and the reimbursement of half of their election campaign costs.

Federal political parties also get special taxpayer treatment, such as the political contributions tax credit. A $100 donation to a political party provides a $75 tax credit, while a $100 donation to a charity provides a $15 federal tax credit. As of May 2020, federal parties benefited from $145 million through the tax credit over the past five years.

In addition, parties and candidates received $191 million in expense reimbursements for the 20192015 and 2011 federal elections, according to Elections Canada.

You can find the CTF’s analysis here.