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Conservatives tell donors next election starts now

The Globe and Mail reports, “The governing Conservatives are asking supporters to dig deep for what they are billing as the most expensive political campaign to date, the 2015 election battle the Tories are trying to frame as a choice between Stephen Harper’s economic record and ‘inexperienced Liberals like Justin Trudeau’ or the ‘leftist ideologues like Thomas Mulcair’. The Conservatives are warning contributors they need to start fighting the next election now, citing the addition of 30 new seats in the Commons, which will expand to 338 MPs from 308, as well as the growth of social media.”

The next federal election is scheduled to take place on October 19, 2015.

The article notes, “Although there are spending caps during campaign periods, parties do not face similar limits on advertising expenditures before the writ drops. ‘To compete for these extra new seats in 2015, our outreach and communications budget must expand too – and we must do it now. If we wait until next year, it may be too late’, the party says in an accompanying fundraising letter.”

The Council of Canadians isn’t waiting until next year either. We’ve just hired Democracy Campaigner Dylan Penner who is pushing back against C-23, the Conservative government’s Unfair Elections Act, working to support the Peoples Social Forum taking place in Ottawa this August, and connecting with numerous other organizations that will be active raising issues related to fair trade, climate justice, public health care, and the protection of water in the federal election now just 18 months away. We also brought our initial election strategies to regional meetings of Council of Canadians activists in Vancouver, Toronto, Regina and Saint John for their feedback and additional thoughts. And we continue to support the Common Causes initiative.

Notably (and bizarrely), “Mr. Harper’s Tories, who will be asking voters to elect them to government for the fourth time in a row, appear to be unnerved by what they regard as fawning media coverage of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. They blame concentration of ownership in the media for this state of affairs – a complaint that forms a central part of this message to key supporters. …The root of the problem, the Tories tell supporters, is that a few corporations control much of Canadian media.”

In actual fact, this is an area the Council of Canadians has been particularly vocal on dating back to the 1990s and our challenging of the Conrad Black and Hollinger Inc. takeover of Southam newspapers. Even the Globe and Mail comments, “This concern about concentration of ownership in Canada’s media has not surfaced in the policy-making priorities of the Conservative government since it took power more than eight years ago. Still, the Tories tell supporters it’s a significant obstacle.”

For more on our Democracy Campaign, please click here.