Try a ‘democracy fee’

Posted on November 29, 2011 in Governance Debates

Source: — Authors: – opinion/letters_to_the_editor – Re: Elections boss votes for national strategy (Nov. 24).
Posted: 11/28/2011.   Dan Cecchini

There may be a simple solution to voter apathy by Canadians. Mine is to have a democracy fee. Here is how it would work.

Every year of a four-year government term, citizens of voting age pay a democracy fee of, say, $5 that goes to Elections Canada. When an election is called, the citizen, upon voting, gets a refund of $10. Voter apathy solved.

And if a person can’t be bothered to vote, to get their $10 back, the funds go to Elections Canada to offset the cost of the election. The fee would not accumulate for the voter.

The remaining $10 is the best part of this fee concept. It becomes the exclusive donation to political parties to use for their election campaign, and all other political donations are banned. This one citizen, one standard donation, one vote, rewards the party based on voter representation, not winning seats in an election.

This eliminates the advantage of rich donations by the wealthy, by corporations or by unions to influence election outcomes due to party wealth rather than party policies. Also, it saves taxes because it eliminates tax refunds for political donations. The current tax refund system is unfair because it benefits the wealthy, who can donate the maximum, and are subsidized by the lower-income taxpayers who may not be able to donate at all, and their taxes possibly benefit parties they would not donate to.

This concept couldn’t be more democratic.

Dan Cecchini, Winnipeg

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