Political financing: Legault throws Compass overboard

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Political financing: Legault throws Compass overboard

New year, same way of doing things for the head of the CAQ. François Legault made a complete mistake by abandoning popular political financing in the hope of diverting attention from the unfortunate requests of his representatives.

François Legault had some great resolutions for 2024: find his compass, take a step back to avoid emotional reactions, and don’t get distracted.

It did not take him a full week to throw his compass to the end of his arms.

Embattled in the arthritis torture controversy, the CAQ leader has once again taken an inappropriate turn.

Municipal elected officials, like all citizens, have the right to donate $100 to help finance political parties of their choice.

The problem with recent allegations, some of which have been investigated by the Ethics Commissioner, is that MPs have invited mayors or entrepreneurs, suggesting that they might agree to pay to attend a cocktail party. Can benefit from privileged access to a minister.

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On Tuesday, CAQ director general Brigitte Legault published an open letter in which she strongly defended the party’s practices and the principle of popular financing.

“Soliciting and receiving donations from municipal elected officials is not only legal, but is practiced by all political parties in Quebec without exception,” he recalled, citing specific examples of representatives of other parties who benefited from it. have picked up.

keep $100

Minister Bernard Drainville, who adopted political financing reform in 2012, also defended the $100 maximum donation when answering journalists’ questions in parliament.

“Because we want citizens to be able to continue to support their representatives in fundraising activities or other functions. To ensure that citizens can support any idea, any party,” he stressed.

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So why did the leader decide to throw the baby out with the bathwater the next day by announcing that the CAQ would immediately stop collecting donations from citizens, and asking other parties to do the same?

Bad strategy

If Mr. Legault thought he would draw attention to the other parties and put them in an awkward position, he failed. No one believes that it would be a good idea to prevent Quebecers from participating in the democratic process by contributing to a party that defends their values.

Angered at seeing his integrity attacked by opposition parties, he probably wanted to put pressure on them to release significant funds for the next election campaign.

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That would be petty. With the percentage of votes cast in 2022, the ruling party is the one that receives the larger share of public funds guaranteed by the DGE, and which depends the least on popular donations.

Needless to say, an emerging party requires this financial support from individuals to move forward.

In 2011, the movement created by François Legault and Charles Sirois, called the Alliance for the Future of Quebec, began collecting donations before turning into a political party.

There is certainly a way to maintain a healthy balance between popular and public funding of political groups.

We need to change the age-old tradition of MPs promoting their fundraising activities by promising ministers privileged access.

That is all.

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