With Canada Day, came the crimp in electioneering spending

With Canada Day, came the crimp in electioneering spending

No majority government,  least of all the ethically-sketchy Trudeau Liberals, would pass a law restricting election campaign spending unless there was a fix in the mix.

Otherwise, what would be the purpose? Certainly not fairness in politics, a fabricated ideal that does not mesh with the reality of negative ads, day-to-day smears, election chicanery and the dirty tricks and strategies concocted in the “war rooms” of each political party.

On the eve of Canada Day, Bill C-76 officially kicked in, a new law that the majority of Canadians celebrating the country’s 152nd birthday likely wouldn’t know about and probably wouldn’t give a damn either.

But it’s a big deal in the political backrooms.

This legislation, passed by the Liberals in December, caps spending of all registered parties leading up to the actual campaign at $2 million and $1 million for registered third parties.

But here’s the thing.

Up until the writ actually drops for the Oct. 21 election, and the call for that is entirely up to the Liberals, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and each and every member of his cabinet can fly back-and-forth across the country selling the party’s election platform like snake oil, and do it all on the taxpayers’ dime — the travel, the accommodations, and the expenses.

With Parliament a distant memory, it’s pretend governance.

The other parties, meanwhile, have to suck and blow.

The Liberals have never been very adept at fundraising, which is one reason they have yet to drop the writ, which will decide if the actual election campaign will be a 36-day running of the reptiles or a 50-day slog.

According to Elections Canada, for example, the Conservatives raked in $8,010,861 in contributions during the first quarter, while the Liberals managed to pull in only $3,857,163, and Jagmeet Singh’s NDP $1,226,869.

The Greens, who are competing with the NDP for the vote of disenchanted Liberals, had their best first quarter in the party’s history, raising $783,279, almost twice the amount raised during the same period in 2015.

They are now legitimate influencers.

Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party, meanwhile, raised $762,000 in the first quarter of 2019, with political soothsayers still trying to figure out how in hell they’ll fit in and what the overwhelming attraction will be.

But it’s the registered third parties which also make Bill C-76 interesting — the activist groups, primarily unionists, the agitators and the all-out s— disturbers — because they are now limited to $1 million in pre-campaign spending, and $500,000 once the writ drops.

There is no question, however, where Jerry Dias stands. As head of Unifor, the country’s largest private-sector union, he makes no bones about wanting to take down any and all Conservatives, both federally and provincially.

Dias and bias are only a minor spelling difference.

“We’re all in,” Dias proclaimed. “We’re entitled to spend $511,000 in the writ period — we’re going to spend $511,000.

“(And) we will be very aggressive.”

The 2019 campaign is already well underway, of course, and Trudeau had no qualms about using Canada Day, the national TV coverage, and a huge crowd on Parliament Hill, to pump props for his party — poorly disguising it as Canadians working together, yet citing (coincidentally?) the last four years as being more exceptional than any other four years in modern times.

But he’s still the PM, and it was his podium.

And he wants no one else there in 2020.

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