Friday, July 31, 2015

THE GUNS OF AUGUST

The Harper Conservatives are loosening the purse strings and making a pile of spending announcements across the country in advance of the anticipated drop of the writ for the fixed October 19th election.

The date was set as part of the fixed-term legislation that was supposed to limit the governing parties ability to "seize opportunities" to go to the polls when the tea leaves were to their best advantage. 

Harper may not be able to call "surprise" elections in the hopes of catching the other parties flat-footed, but he has found another another way to manipulate the electoral system - dropping the writ early and lengthening the campaign.

The early writ will allow parties to spend $675,000 per day over the month of August. That works out to about $28 million more in advertisement that each party can deploy.  

The cash rich Conservatives have raised more fundraising dollars than the NDP and Liberals combined.  Yesterday Elections Canada released the quarterly fundraising figures for the political parties showing Conservatives brought in $7.3 million dollars total in contributions and transfers, followed by the NDP at nearly $4.5 million and the Liberals at $4.2 million.

The NDP had the most individual donors at 48,314, followed by the Conservatives at 45,532 and then the Liberals at 32,789.

It is obvious that the Conservatives think that a long campaign - the longest in modern times - is to their advantage. It is designed to starve the opposition and allow them to buy advantage. 

The Conservatives will use every partisan weapon at their disposal.

Political calculation - tactics, strategy and implementation - are key characteristics of this politically shrewd Prime Minister. He will use whatever political calculation best serves his purpose. Take for example the $750,000,000 - 3 quarters of a Billion dollars the government has expended in questionable partisan advertising with tax payers dollars promoting the government agenda.

The less cynical side of me thinks that a longer campaign might allow for more serious discussion and debate about issues. The electorate will have more of opportunity to engage politicians, parties and leaders.

The political organizer in me wonders about the impact of a 11 week campaign on volunteers. Will they burnout? Will the public tune out? Will in contribute to apathy?

Will the Conservatives pay a price for this latest manipulation. 

Cynicism appears to be at an all time high. 

Is this just a bit of hype, preparing us for a mid-August start? 

Stay tuned! 

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