Public Funding of Political Parties: How It Works

As a result of the various electoral reforms implemented in the name of fighting corruption over the years, the Quebec government has modified the way political parties are funded. The state, through Élections Québec, now finances the political parties to the tune of 72.9 per cent, or $10,693,201. Of that percentage, 96.7 per cent is found in the hands of the cartel parties at the National Assembly.

Financing takes place on four fronts. First, the state provides an allocation to the political parties based on the vote during provincial elections. That allocation is obtained by multiplying the number of electors registered on the List of Electors, by an amount of $1.56 per vote. That allocation is then apportioned between the parties based on the number of valid votes obtained during the election. That revenue, called an allocation, represents 87.7 per cent of the state’s financial contribution to the political parties.

Then there are what are referred to as matching revenues that are calculated as follows: for each dollar contributed to a political party, the state provides $2.50, up to a maximum contribution of $20,000. Therefore, $20,000 in contributions gives rise to a total of $50,000 for a party. After that, for each additional dollar contributed, the state gives $1, up to a maximum of $200,000. Matching revenues represent 10.6 per cent of the state’s financial participation. In 2017, in terms of political contributions, authorized entities collected 36,857 contributions, for a total of $2,233,568 from 31,878 electors, or 0.53 per cent of the total number of electors. Notably, a contributor can give a maximum of $100 per political party and during an electoral year, can give a maximum of $200.

The state also reimburses half the audit fees for the financial report every year, to a maximum of $15,000.

Finally, the state reimburses the electoral expenses of political parties who have garnered at least one per cent of the vote. It also reimburses the election expenses of candidates who obtain at least 15 per cent of the vote.

In the opinion of the PMLQ, it is the political process that should be funded, not the parties. Public funds should be placed at the disposal of the entire population to enable them to participate in public affairs.

Sources of Funding for 16 Other Registered Authorized Parties, Period Ending December 31, 2016. Revenus d’appariement: Matching Revenues; Financement autonome: Independent Funding; Remboursement des frais d’audit: Reimbursement of Audit Fees; Allocations: Allocations; Contributions: Contributions; Adhésions: Membership; Autres revenus: Other Revenues; Activités politiques: Political Activities