harpershame

We can only hope that Harper will begin his electoral walk of shame for his ‘extending the electoral campaign’ shenanigans.

Wow, kinda early to be talking about the upcoming Canadian federal election, yet because our beloved Conservatives love power more than democracy here we are.  Let’s check in with the former head of Elections Canada on the merry jig Harper is doing on the grave of Canadian democracy.

“The former head of Elections Canada says Prime Minister Stephen Harper is “gaming the system” with an early election call and the result is parties with less money are politically disadvantaged.

“What it does is completely distort everything we’ve ever fought for, everything we’ve established as rules,” Jean-Pierre Kingsley said in an interview on CBC Radio’s The House.”

Well that sounds pretty damning Mr.Kingsley.  What exactly is our benevolent government planning?

“What should be happening right now is very simple — the prime minister should not call the election. He should wait for the 37 days to count towards the 19th of October, political parties should stop advertising right now, third parties should stop advertising. Then I’d say, hey, those people are respecting the spirit of the law.”

A longer election campaign means a higher ceiling of allowable expenses, under the rules set by Elections Canada.

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.”

Oh!  Fascinating.  Essentially it looks like our neo-liberal PM is just, ever so slightly, tilting the table heavily in favour of the Conservatives because they are the only ones who can afford a long electoral campaign.

“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.”

It would seem that more rules are required to stop the kind of hard bullshite that is going on here.  This is a cynical loophole being exploited by Harper so he can flood the media airwaves with Conservative party propaganda.

“Parties plan how much will be required to spend. The Conservatives are way ahead of the other two, so by doubling the amount, all of a sudden you’ve thrown a monkey wrench into all of that financial planning that’s been going on.”

“And that’s what distorts the game for Canadians,” Kingsley added. “That is what is happening to us. We’re the electors here, and we’re the ones who are going to be faced with the consequences of this thing.”

shame I hope Canadians won’t let this shameless manipulation of our electoral system go unnoticed.  This foul political ploy is rotten and needs to follow the Tories throughout the entire election – we are talking dead albatross around the neck levels of shame here.  Speaking of our government spending like a drunken sailor:

“The financial consequences of an 11-week campaign for the public could be significant because of the campaign rebate, which sees taxpayers subsidize 50 per cent of what the parties spend on a national campaign.

    “Significant elements of [the estimated cost] are doubled, or more than doubled,” he said. “We’re talking about tens of millions of dollars the chief electoral officer will need extra.” 

Yeah – did you just feel that?  That was the sound of conservative fiscal policy hitting the side of the bin, as the taxpayer dollar wasting election extravaganza is about to begin.  A feather in the cap of the government that purportedly manages the public purse with the utmost care.

So, what the Conservatives are doing electorally is dirty pool.  Surprising?  Not really – but this election scandal tears a rather large hole in the facade of our democratic electoral system.  Fair? Level playing field?  Let Canadian choose the best ideas and policy?  Bollocks to that!

“That means parties will be disadvantaged politically because they can’t afford to keep up with bigger spenders, Kingsley added.

“What about the disadvantage this imposes upon, for example, the Green Party?” he said. 

“Now they’re facing foes who are going to be shooting twice as hard at them as they were before. It destroys the fairness that is at the base of our system.

“That level playing field gets it in the neck.”

The Conservative Party just doubled down on the idea that big money and big donors will win elections.  I hope that the people of Canada are wise enough to see through this cynical dog and pony show and kick them out of office.

[Source: cbc.ca]

 

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