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PCs continue to eschew per-vote subsidy

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Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party Leader Brian Pallister used a prop on Thursday to show how much money his party will not receive from taxpayers to fund its operations over the next four years.

At a news conference this morning -- his second in as many days -- Pallister unveiled a "cheque" to the People of Manitoba for $1 million.

The cheque is symbolic as Pallister and the PCs reiterated their decision not to apply for a new party funding allowance designed by an independent commissioner as a result of legislation passed last year.

The Tories stood to gain around $240,000 per annum. With interest, that would have amounted to $1 million over four years.

In February, political scientist Paul Thomas recommended the province’s five registered political parties divvy up $600,000 annually based on a formula that recognizes the number of candidates they endorsed in the last general election and the votes they received over the past two elections.

It meant the governing NDP stood to gain $278,811 to offset administrative and operating costs for the past year, while the Tories could receive $242,712 and the Liberals $63,255.

After he released his report, the Selinger government said Thomas’s formula was a tad rich, given the economic times.

NDP House Leader Jennifer Howard said at the time that the $600,000 pot of cash that Thomas envisaged "is not something that is affordable right now."

She said the government would likely reveal how much money would be spent on political parties in the provincial budget, now scheduled for April 16.

She noted that under a previous party funding arrangement -- which both the NDP and Tories refused to tap into -- the maximum any party could receive in a given year was $250,000.

"I think that that’s a good starting point to have some discussion about," Howard said in February.

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