– by Britt Santowski
Are you ready? The worst-kept secret was confirmed this morning: The writ is dropped, parliament is dissolved, and the election campaign begins. Well, OK, the campaign has been on for about a year, but now it’s official and the spending from this point forward must now come from the political parties and not the Government of Canada. Sort of.
Based on the announcement this morning, Harper noted that the other parties have already started the campaign and the Conservative Party will begin their race starting today. He is determined to be ethical and not spend the tax-payers’ dollars on election campaigns (see the last sentence in this article). That the Conservative party has more money than any other party has nothing to do with triggering a 78-day campaign (the longest election campaign since 1926) since, Harper stated, they would have had more money than the other parties anyway. The standard election length is 37 days.
Only the first two election campaigns after Confederation were longer — 81 days in 1867 and 96 days in 1872 — but in those early days voting was staggered across the country over a period of several months, necessarily extending the length of the campaigns. Since then, the longest campaign was 74 days, way back in 1926.
– 680 News
[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]The duration of the campaign does affect spending. Instead of a full-stop limited ceiling on the amount a party can spend on an election, the Conservative Government while in power legislated a sliding-scale that correlates time with spending.
In a CBC interview (listen below), Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the former head of Elections Canada says that the spending rules are now distorted.
In a typical 37-day election period, each party can spend a maximum of $25 million. For each additional day, the limit is increased by 1/37th, or an extra $675,000, meaning an 11-week campaign would allow parties to spend more than $50 million.
“What you’ve done is that you’ve distorted the role of money in politics,” Kingsley said.
“Canadians have said, $25 million is enough for you to run a campaign. Now we’re going to be facing the possibility that it’s going to be more than $50 million just to pump more ads our way.”
Kingsley said it’s no coincidence that only one party can afford to spend $50 million on a campaign.
“If (the Conservatives) are doubling it to fifty, it’s because they can get to fifty,” he said.
Listen to the full interview here.
The costs for Canadians do go up as well, as parties are reimbursed 50% and candidates are reimbursed 60% of their expenditures from the public purse.
Here’s some bare-bones information for voters in Sooke[sam id=”15″ codes=”true”]Basic details:
- Election Date: October 19, 2015
- Age to vote: 18 and older
- Acceptable ID: Listed on the Elections Canada page here.
- Registration: You must be registered to vote, which you can do here.
- Previously known as Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca
- Redefined as Saanich – Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca in 2013
- Population of the riding based on 2011 statistics is 113,004
- NDP contender: Member of Parliament: Randall Garrison, NDP
- Libertarian contender: Josh Steffler
- Green contender: Francis Litman
- Liberal contender: David Merner
- Conservative contender: Shari Lukens