Thursday, July 16, 2015
Does Stephen Harper Have a Plan To Ruin Our Summer?
I've been trying to soak up every precious minute of summer I can. Trying to escape the city by heading out on the lake, to feel the wind in my face or the sun beating down on me.
Or just lying in my hammock, with my cell phone turned off, reading a book, or watching the flowers bloom...
Not just because the summer took a long time to arrive, or because our Canadian summers are so tragically short.
But because for weeks I've been hearing rumours that Stephen Harper has a monstrous plan to make this one even shorter.
A plan, that as John Ivison reports, he hopes will cripple the opposition.
Fixed election dates may have taken the uncertainty out of polling day but we are still none the wiser about when the 42nd Canadian general election will formally commence. This is important because there are indications that the Conservatives will drop the writ early in an attempt to drain the resources of their relatively impoverished opponents.
By firing the starting gun for the official start of the election sometime in August rather than mid-September. And making the campaign longer so the Cons can take full advantage of their bigger war chest.
The typical 36-day campaign would limit the amount parties are able to spend to $24-million — a level of expenditure the three main parties can afford with a degree of comfort. But every day the campaign is extended, that limit is raised by $676,000.
The Liberals and New Democrats are in something of a funk because they are hearing rumours that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit the governor general on Aug. 9, which would raise spending limits to $45-million. Conservative MPs say they are betting the call comes closer to Aug. 20, which would raise limits to around $40-million.
And can bombard us with ads from their massive propaganda machine, while the progressive parties are forced to hold their fire...
“They’re trying to bankrupt the other parties,” said one senior Liberal. “The first month of the campaign will exist only in advertising — which is exactly how they’d like it.”
But while the idea of leaving my boat or my hammock to help organize in my riding a month earlier than expected is a shocking one. I think that Ivison overestimates the impact Harper's move could have on the outcome of the election, for at least two good reasons:
(1) The Con propaganda machine has been bombarding us with so many ads for so long, polls show many Canadians have come to resent them, or learned to ignore them.
So stepping up that bombardment until it's impossible to ignore them, could backfire badly...
And make many hate the Cons even more than they already do.
(2) This election will be fought on social media more than any other election has ever been in the past. And in a country which has the highest rates of internet use in the world.
Canadians are among the biggest online addicts in the world, visiting more sites and spending more time on the internet than anyone else in the world, according to comScore Canada.
On that front at least, progressives have a clear advantage.
We are more than them, we are better and more creative. So we can neutralize their financial advantage with good old people power.
And use social media to attack the Cons like they have never been attacked before...
Finally, there's that other more intangible factor, but one that could turn out to be Stephen Harper's biggest mistake.
By calling an election in August rather than September, at a time when most Canadians are more interested in barbecues than politics, he will be seen by many to have ruined what's left of that tragically short Canadian summer.
In the Great White North that's unforgivable...
And if we constantly remind Canadians that he did it for crass political purposes he will be made to pay for it.
Yup. Enjoy your summer, rest up for the battle ahead.
The dictator and his ghastly gang think that money is everything.
But we are going to teach them a lesson they will never forget...
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