When the writ was dropped for an 11-week campaign for the upcoming federal election, most of the discussion I heard and read was about how bad that would be for all the federal parties who don’t have the finances to sustain such a lengthy campaign (hint: all the ones who aren’t in power right now).
While the speculation continues about who a long campaign period will benefit and who it will harm, I’m focused on who is saying things I want to hear and who isn’t – or more importantly, who is saying and doing things I DON’T want to see and hear.
Let’s put it this way: the extra-long election campaign period gives everyone more chance to turn me off from voting for them.
Most people pay far more attention to the Canadian political landscape during election time than they do at other times, so a longer campaign period will (hopefully) see the public paying attention to what’s being said and done by candidates for longer.
A longer campaign gives everyone more opportunity to say what they believe, so we should all be paying attention to what that is, make sure what they’re saying is consistent (and consistent with their past actions) and vote for the candidates you feel best represent you and your interests in Ottawa.
This is good for democracy.
I should qualify that. A longer campaign is good for democracy, but only if people pay attention and inform themselves about the issues during the campaign.
With extra time to find out what your candidates stand for and what the various parties’ platforms are, there’s no excuse for anyone to be uninformed when it comes time to check that proverbial box this October.
Combine the extra time this go-round with the additional resources available – there are a ton of online surveys and profiles of the parties for you to see where your interests fall in the political spectrum and how they mesh with those of the political parties contesting this election – and the public has the opportunity to make an extremely informed decision and ensure they’re choosing the person and party that best represents how they feel about what our country should look like.
How do you feel about the cuts to the CBC? There’s a resource online to tell you how each party feels about those cuts, too.
How do you feel about the corporate or personal income tax structure? Or immigration reform? Or pipelines? Or evidence-based science informing policy decisions? How do you feel about how elections themselves are run? Or the environmental protection of our waters? This long campaign is the perfect opportunity to find out where the people you’ll be choosing between stand on all of these things.
Do your research.
You don’t need to rush, but start paying attention.
Because the more you see and hear from these people, the better informed you’ll be when you approach the booth, and the more likely it’ll be that we’ll have a government that represents us as we move forward into the future.