-by Bill Moses
We should all be aware that there is a provincial election in Ontario coming up next year. Recently Ontario started paying its Constituency Associations in each Constituency (Riding) $25,000 per year. This amount is split up amongst the Associations based on the percentage of votes received in the last election. In our area that roughly amounts to $12,500 per year for the Conservatives, $6,250 for the Liberals and $6,250 for the NDP and the Greens. Over a four year period that is $100,000 to be distributed, $50,000 to the Conservatives, $25,000 to the Liberals and so on.
What can this money be spent on? The answer is anything, as long as it is for a political purpose with the goal of electing the personwho you want to represent you at Queen's Park. Who decides on that political purpose? The answer is the members of each Association. This makes me think that everybody should want to belong to a political party. You are being given money with a choice on how you think it should be spent.
Typically you can join a political party online and typically the costs to join are $5 for youth from age 14 to age 25, $10 for regular members and $5 for seniors aged 64 and above. When a person says, "I am a member of such and such political party.", people are more liable to take you seriously. You have acted on your political beliefs!
But wait, it just gets better! Let's suppose you have a cause and you earn some money and you donate it to the cause. Lets say it is just $10. If the donation is to a registered charity and if you do have to pay income tax in Ontario, you will have your provincial tax reduced. However, if you make a donation to an Ontario political party of $10, you will receive $7.50 back regardless of whether you pay any provincial tax. (This is not true federally but should be!) You do have to file a tax return to get the money back. It is also possible to set up a $10 per month automatic deduction from your bank account. Then each year you will get a cheque for $90 from the government and your membership is automatically renewed.
If this sounds enticing, the next step is to decide which party to join. Basically parties are either on the left or on the right. In this riding we have Conservatives on the right and the other three parties on the left. If you are on the right there is no problem. If on the left you have three choices. Let's compare it to three cars. On a road trip a decision is made to take three cars because some people want to ride in the red car, some people in the orange car and some people in the green car. Each person has a little can of gas. If everybody went in one car that car would be able to go a lot farther and perhaps have a chance of beating out the blue car. Taking emotion out of it, it only makes sense to take one car. Rationally, it also makes sense to add your little can of gas to the car that already has the most people. In Oshawa it would be the orange car but in Owen Sound it is the red car.
Still, I am trying to stay neutral. This is merely a heads up as to how our political system works. If you have any questions, I (and I am sure others) would be glad to try and answer them. Check out the Ontario political parties below.