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Effects of a US Style Canadian election (in length?)

I was browsing around this morning and caught this from the Hill Times about how our next election campaign may be (unofficially) 4 months long if Harper waits until October 2015:

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper sticks to the fixed election date in Oct. 19, 2015, the next federal election campaign will be the longest and the most expensive in Canadian political history as the unofficial campaign will start right after the House adjourns in June 2015 and will continue until the Oct. 19 election day…the 2015 election campaign could be the longest ever because the writ for the 36-day campaign would be issued Sept. 13. According to the Parliamentary calendar, the House is scheduled to adjourn on June 23, 2015 and return on Sept. 21.

The article is primarily concerned about how expensive the campaign will be – with pre-writ spending on advertising and so on. I’m more interested/concerned in how it might affect voter turnout. If the official/unofficial election campaign were 4 months long, Canadians would get a taste of what the US voters get in Presidential elections. Everyone knows when you vote for President; and unofficial election campaigning there starts out at least a year in advance. Heck, let’s throw the Congress elections in there as well.

Considering that Canadian voter participation in our elections has generally been on the decline in the last 20 years or so, what would the effect of an extended election campaign have? I’d wager a loonie that it would cause people to get sick of the campaign and election earlier then normal; and drive down participation (which a certain party in power may not consider a bad thing).

Now, there is no guarantee Harper will stick to his fixed election date law; but I fear that if he does, and we do get an unofficial 4 month election campaign, voter participation may drop into the 50-59% range.

1 comment to Effects of a US Style Canadian election (in length?)

  • Ron

    There is a long list of over-due reforms when it comes to the floundering Canadian political system…
    The longer writ period I can live with…the uncontrolled spending between elections is the real enemy here, imho.
    Banning political advertising outside the writ period is the no-brainer reform Justin should propose (and advertise when ever the Cons run their stuff).
    Not only is it more democratic but “I promise ‘no political ads between elections’ ” would be very popular too.

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