Lessons from Canada

The troubled experience of the party funding reform in the UK is often perceived to contrast with that of Canada, where a far more comprehensive system of regulation and public funding operates. Almost every major official review of party funding during the past decade has examined the Canadian system to some extent, and most have offered a highly positive – albeit perfunctory – judgment of its merits. It would come as little surprise if the Committee on Standards in Public Life – the latest body charged with reviewing party funding – also draws on Canadian experience when it reports later this year.

Our analysis suggest there are good reasons to regard the supposed merits of the Canadian system with a healthy degree of scepticism. The extent to which previous inquiries’ analyses of the Canadian system can be substantiated by sound empirical evidence is by no means clear; while recent developments in Canada itself suggest that there may, in fact, be hidden perils associated with the Canadian reform trajectory.

Download: Reforming Political Party Funding in the UK: Lessons from Canada

You can also read Stephen Crone’s blog Party funding reform: Canadian experience suggests a negotiated settlement is essential.