"Take away public financing and essentially what you are saying is those with the best ability to raise money get to have their ideas heard by Canadians and the rest are essentially silenced. I don't think that's helpful for a democratic society."
I will never cease to be amazed at the inability of socialists to understand the marketplace and the concept of putting your money where your mouth is.
I would beg to differ with Layton here. Quite frankly, I think he has it completely backwards; it's not the parties with the most money that get their ideas out, it's the parties that get their ideas out - mind you, good ideas that like-minded people believe in and want to get behind - that end up raising the most money. This truth is best demonstrated by observing the current party fundraising statistics; the Tories benefit from large numbers of small-denomination donors, each of whom believes strongly enough in Conservative policy to vote with their chequebook. In contrast, the Liberals often relied on large corporate donations and never quite got over Chretien's changing of party fundraising laws. As a result, they suffer from a dearth of donations from private citizens and even now, years later, they still have not been able to persuade their supporters to send in a cheque every now-and-then. The same can essentially be said for the NDP, albeit to a lesser extent (and with Big Labour, not Bay Street as the primary donors).
If you believe that the NDP or the Liberals or the Greens have the best ideas, and you believe in those ideas, then put your money where your mouth is and write them a cheque. I am consistently surprised by those friends of mine who are outraged at the elimination of this subsidy, and yet have never once donated to (or even volunteered with) the party they support. They hate Harper, yet they can't be bothered to make a ten dollar donation to the Dippers or Grits to help them remove him from office. At the risk of making a sweeping generalization here, it's pretty typical of the socialist mindset - here's what I want to do: now somebody else step up and pay for it.