The election campaign is underway and no matter what political party one supports no doubt they have all asked for campaign contributions.
The selling point in making a financial donation to a political party is the tax credit.
For example, should a taxpayer contribute $100 towards the party of his or her choice, they get a tax credit of $75.
In the grand scheme of things, and assuming they already earn enough to pay taxes, this individual has really only donated $25.
Of course they do have to wait until tax time for all this financial balancing to occur, but it is quite a financial gift.
Now suppose an individual does not want to give money to a political party but would rather donate to a registered charity or non-profit organization.
A gift of $100 to a registered charity would entitle that person to a $15 and 25 cents tax credit.
Once they have received the tax refund for their charitable contribution, they would have donated $84 and 75 cents.
Financially support a political party and get a 75 per cent tax credit.
Support a charity, and get a 15.25 per cent tax credit.
Note that these rules are for what some would consider small financial donations.
The percentages change for larger amounts.
It could be argued that charities do work that is just as important as political parties.
In fact, give the state of Canadian politics, most charities seem to be doing a damn site more for societal good than any politician one cares to name.
Now there is nothing wrong in supporting political parties with financial contributions.
Living in a democratic capitalist society it is the way the system operates.
To avoid flagrant abuse, there are checks and balances built into the system.
There are limits on how much individuals and corporations can give.
Who gave what to which political party is made public on the Elections Canada website.
But in the end, the political parties get partial funding from citizens.
If the party, and perhaps the citizen, is fortunate their candidate might end up in the House of Commons.
Once in that esteemed chamber, they can makes laws, pass motions and rewrite the tax code.
In this case, it has been written so that donating dollars to a political party is much more advantageous to an individual taxpayer than donating to a charity.
This is wrong, and it must change.
Most charitable organizations exist because government has dropped the ball on an issue.
Environmental groups attempt to protect the land, fauna and flora because government chooses not to.
Anti-poverty groups exist because government does not address income, housing and educational inequalities within society.
One could go one, but there are so many charities doing so much good work in so many fields it would take forever.
Name the charity, and it is filling a void in services or legislation that should have been tackled by government, but is not.
It would be nice if charities were on the same fiscal playing field as the political parities.
Those who donate to charities should be eligible for the same tax credit one gets for donating to a political party.