Canada embarks on marathon campaign

Early election call will carry an extra cost of more than $100 million for Elections Canada

They’re off and running. But this federal election campaign will more closely resemble a marathon than a sprint.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid a visit to Governor General David Johnston at Rideau Hall Sunday morning to dissolve Parliament and officially start the campaign for the election set for Oct. 19. That campaign will now last 78 days, more than double the typical 37-day campaign.

Anyone who’s switched on a TV, picked up a newspaper or listened to the radio could be forgiven for believing that the campaign has already been running for months. What’s different now is that once the writ has been officially dropped, a whole new set of rules kicks in. So why fire up the campaigns now instead of five weeks out from the election as has previously been the case?

Upon leaving Rideau Hall, Harper told reporters that “It’s important that these campaigns be funded by the parties themselves rather than taxpayers.”  Well that certainly makes sense … if only it were true.

Elections Canada estimates a traditional 37-day campaign costs the government agency about $375 million, and this year’s longer conger is expected to add more than $100 million to that tab. The longer campaign will also double the $25 million spending limit on political parties, with taxpayers on the hook for reimbursing up to half of what political parties spend on a national campaign.

But, hey, what better way to start an election campaign than with a misleading statement, so we can can cut the prime minister a little slack on that one. The real benefit of the early election call is to Harper’s Conservative Party, which is sitting on more cash than all of its rivals combined. And the onset of the campaign follows a flurry of spending announcements by the governing Tories that would have made Santa proud.

But politicians can be expected to use any situation to their advantage. And now that the race is on, it’s the voters who will set the course for how it finishes.


Just Posted

Victoria teen killed on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in falling tree incident at Camp Barnard

Scorpion gives birth at Victoria Bug Zoo after hitching ride in woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

Oak Bay double murder trial: Blood splatter analyst says no shoe prints found in unit

RCMP analyst testifies to smears, fingermarks, ‘swipe and wipe’ patterns around apartment

Final bell could sound for project that allows Victoria grads to dress in style

Magic Wand must find space to store its prom attire for Greater Victoria students by end of June

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read