Election rules are apparently made to be broken. Or perhaps there aren’t any rules governing when parties are allowed to start campaigning. There should be.
First we had the Federal Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper run attack ads against Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff for years in between elections. No, they weren’t campaigning, they asserted with straight faces. We all rolled our eyes, grumbled, and flipped that dial. Only Elections Canada bought the party line.
Seeing how successful campaigning year-round was for the CPC, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives under Tim Hudak began copying Harper and his attacking, winning ways. They have been running an attack ad now for months against Ontario Liberal Leader and Premier Dalton McGuinty. They polluted the airwaves with nasty photos of McGuinty and deep tones of anger and contempt long before the writ was dropped. Elections Ontario has copied Elections Canada and uttered not one peep, not one slap on the wrist to Hudak and the PCs.
Apparently campaigning in between elections, annoying voters and getting them so oversaturated that they are probably less likely to vote, is A-OK with the people who police our elections. We pay them to turn a blind eye to the big problems that lead to voters being turned off and to focus on tinkering with how we vote, as if that will solve everything.
“Elections Ontario has a long history of being a pioneer in improving the electoral process for Ontarians. We are committed to building upon that foundation.” (Elections Ontario website)
That foundation has nothing to do with restricting campaigning to within the official timeframe of the election, with ensuring clean campaigns from all parties, with ensuring voters get good information. Nope, the only thing Elections Ontario seems to be interested in is how easy it is to vote.
“Welcome to the new face of Elections Ontario. We are on a mission to make voting easy, and that means putting the needs of the elector first.”
Those needs do not include being informed during an election and not being pestered in between elections.