A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Buying Your Vote

Rumours circulating that Harper will extend the official campaign period by calling the election early may well have some merit given that his “Fair” Election Act specifically allows more spending on advertising during such extended period.
The Fair Elections Act also increases election spending for political parties, candidates and nomination contestants. Using last election’s numbers, it would mean slightly more than $1 million for each political party that runs candidates in each riding ($0.735 for every elector instead of $0.70)
But the real change is that election expenses, which used to be capped for the entire campaign period, will now increase by $650,000 each day after the normal 36-day writ.
And who gets to decide how long the election lasts? That would be the government, currently the Conservative Party of Canada.

Remember that for every dollar spend DURING an election period political parties receive a 50% rebate paid for out of our tax dollars. They will however no longer receive any monies based upon the number of votes they receive. That sloping “level playing field” has now turned into a mountain slope!

Based on projections from the 2011 election expense limits, the party spending limit for a minimum 37-day campaign on Oct. 19, 2015, would be roughly $22-million for parties that run candidates in all 338 ridings.
A decision to issue election writs at the end of August rather than in mid-September would give parties with the means the ability to spend at least $8-million more during the writ period for this election for expenses that would qualify for a 50 per cent reimbursement from Elections Canada........
Campaign advertising prior to the election period would not qualify for the reimbursement from taxpayers, but would follow closely on the heels of a multi-million-dollar ad campaign the Finance Department placed, with the direct approval of Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) and his Cabinet, to run from May 4 until Sunday, Aug. 4.
Monies spent before the writ is dropped are not eligible for taxpayer refunds however the Harper regimes ongoing expenditures of tax payers cash for his self serving advertizing and spin machine from various government departments is 100% paid for by us, not the Conservative party.

How big is the propaganda machine? Well, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation reported last year the government employs no fewer than 3,300 communications staffers whose primary function is to make the government look good. The cost to taxpayers is $263 million a year.

The total number of journalists in the press gallery — your independent watchdogs on government — is less than 300. And no newspaper, television network or other Canadian media outfit has anything like the funds the government has available to manufacture propaganda. With these vast resources, the government had every reason to believe it could pull a fast one . . .

The last figures available for total advertising expenditures show around $100 Million per year was spent, you may be sure that the 2015 figures will be considerably higher than that.

Internal documents show Finance Canada is planning a $7.5-million ad campaign that will run in May.
The campaign will illustrate how the [Economic Action Plan] is on track to positioning Canada for success in the 21st century global economy through a series of measures,” states a Public Works document.........
Last year, Finance spent $7.5-million on Economic Action Plan ads, and other departments ran similar campaigns. Employment and Social Development spent $7-million on a skills initiative campaign, and the Canada Revenue Agency spent $6-million last year on ads
Many of the ad promote measures not yet legislated or proposed for some time in the distant future and only after opposition outcry were words to that effect added to the end of the ads. Almost daily more “proposals” are being promised to naive voters who are misled into believing that these things will actually happen if only they vote for the Harper Regime. The only promise thus far kept appears to be that promise attributed to Mr Harper in 2006 that says “you wont recognize Canada when I am done with it

Its interesting to note that one of the most effective tools to fight this massively funded media blitz is social media which cost almost nothing. One very effective response to the recent attack on the Liberal leader can be see here

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Owen Gray said...

Harper has always been about rigging the game in his favour, rural. If he sees any advantage, he'll arrange -- somehow -- to take it.

Rural said...

And if he can get us to pay for it so much the better, Owen!