An Ontario Superior Court judge has quashed Elections Act rules denying federal funding to smaller political parties.
"Small and weaker political parties play a very important role in the Canadian electoral process whether or not they receive large numbers of votes," Justice Ted Matlow said, in a written judgment released yesterday.
They are just as entitled as larger parties to the 44 cents a voter allowance that the government has, since Jan. 1, 2004, paid out quarterly — based on federal parties' results in the previous election, the judge ruled.
Ottawa has sent the subsidy only to political parties that received at least 2 per cent of votes cast nationally or 5 per cent in electoral districts where they ran a candidate.
That threshold was challenged by the Green Party of Canada, Progressive Canadian Party, Communist Party of Canada, Canadian Action Party, Marijuana Party and Christian Heritage Party in a hearing this July.
All but the Green party, which received $311,000 last quarter, were ineligible for funding under the formula.
In the same quarter, The Conservative Party of Canada received $2.5 million, the Liberal Party of Canada got $2.1 million, while the NDP banked $1.2 million.
The money would be worth some $60,000 a year to the Marijuana Party, and $8,000 annually to the Communist Party of Canada, Peter Rosenthal, lawyer for all the applicants, said yesterday.
This is great news for anyone who believes in true democracy.