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Political parties took more than $3.7 million through federal wage subsidy

OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation released analysis today showing political parties took more than $3.7 million through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

“Political parties should have never helped themselves to millions of dollars that were meant to help struggling businesses keep their workers employed during the pandemic,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director with the CTF. “Political parties exploited these subsidies and they need to make sure every penny is paid back.”

Federal parties took an estimated $3.2 million through the wage subsidy, according to 2020 financial statements published by Elections Canada. The Bloc Québécois was the only party in the House of Commons that did not take the wage subsidy.

The CEWS was a federal pandemic subsidy meant to help organizations cover a portion of their employees’ wages.

Federal political parties already receive special taxpayer treatment, such as the political contributions tax credit. A $100 donation to a political party provides a $75 tax credit, while a $100 donation to a charity provides a $15 federal tax credit. As of May 2020, federal parties benefited from $145 million through the tax credit over the past five years. In addition, parties and candidates received $191 million in expense reimbursements for the 2019, 2015 and 2011 federal elections, according to Elections Canada.

Provincial political parties also received more than $500,000 through the wage subsidy.

“Many Canadians were worried about their jobs during the pandemic, but I don’t think too many people were laying awake at night worried about a shortage of political attack ads,” said Terrazzano. “Parties already receive special taxpayer treatment and it’s important that they pay the wage subsidy back because they should have never taken it in the first place.”

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