Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Election Spending Enters New Realm

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Election Spending Enters New Realm

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Election spending enters new realm

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An editorial from the Guelph Mercury, published July 10:

It's not likely Canadians will spend much time during their summer holidays fretting about election spending, but they should.

While the federal election isn't until Oct. 19, and the official campaign period won't begin in earnest until after Labour Day, that hasn't stopped the rollout of advertising by the various political parties and special interest groups, and more and more of it is no doubt on the way.

The early beginning of campaign-style advertising this year is keyed to the fact that this is Canada's first fixed-date federal election, and hard-and-fast rules on the limits of election spending that are in force during an official campaign period (which normally runs about 36 days) don't apply during this precampaign period. And that is problematic.

Former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley, who wants election advertising to stop until the campaign begins, may be alarmist, but not overly so. As he observes, the financial controls that have been developed in Canada over generations are in danger of being eroded, and that's something that must concern us.

There are distinct pluses to fixed election dates in the case of majority governments, not the least of which is the elimination of the political opportunism that governing parties have used to call a snap election when their fortunes were on the rise. …

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