August 20, 2019

Winnipeg
18° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Editorial

Don't be fooled by spending spree

Shelly Glover

SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES

Shelly Glover

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/7/2015 (1505 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s the beginning of the federal campaign season, with political leaders and candidates heading out to neighbourhood barbecues, summer fairs and parades in a bid to get your vote.

Monday, there were three federal announcements of spending slated for Manitoba. Three.

Regional minister Shelly Glover was in Churchill along with Premier Greg Selinger to announce a $12.4-million Churchill Marine Observatory under the Canada Foundation for Innovation program. Government House Leader Peter Van Loan was in the RM of Rosser to extol the virtues of a government policy that installs defibrillators in community facilities. And MP Lawrence Toet (Elmwood-Transcona) made a funding announcement for The Forks.

Two more announcements are scheduled today. Candice Bergen, minister of state for social development, has an event planned that highlights government investments to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. And Mr. Toet is back at it, this time at Red River College.

Get the full story:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Keep reading free:

Already have an account? Log in here »

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/7/2015 (1505 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s the beginning of the federal campaign season, with political leaders and candidates heading out to neighbourhood barbecues, summer fairs and parades in a bid to get your vote.

Monday, there were three federal announcements of spending slated for Manitoba. Three.

Regional minister Shelly Glover was in Churchill along with Premier Greg Selinger to announce a $12.4-million Churchill Marine Observatory under the Canada Foundation for Innovation program. Government House Leader Peter Van Loan was in the RM of Rosser to extol the virtues of a government policy that installs defibrillators in community facilities. And MP Lawrence Toet (Elmwood-Transcona) made a funding announcement for The Forks.

Two more announcements are scheduled today. Candice Bergen, minister of state for social development, has an event planned that highlights government investments to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. And Mr. Toet is back at it, this time at Red River College.

NDP MP Pat Martin has decried the funding blitz, saying it’s been "a veritable orgy of pork barrelling since the day Parliament adjourned." He’s not that far off the mark. But it’s not uncommon for governments to push money into ridings in which they feel vulnerable.

This is the first time the federal election will occur on a fixed election date, despite the fact the legislation enacting it is more than eight years old. Prime Minister Stephen Harper pulled the plug early in 2008, when his party held a minority government. Since 2011, Mr. Harper has had a majority and thus could abide by the terms of the fixed election laws.

Elections Canada has voiced concerns fixed elections mean both government and opposition parties can spend money on advertising without limits. Once the official writ is dropped, however, advertising spending is capped and additionally, there can be no funding announcements.

Thus, the recent spate of Conservative funding announcements and MP householder mail-outs along with party advertising buys are completely legal and legitimate.

Fixed election dates were meant to level the playing field for opposition parties. Constitutionally, there is a requirement that elections must be held no later than five years after the previous ballot, unless there were extenuating circumstances (such as war). Historically, that meant governments relied on internal polling and pork barrelling to shore up troubled ridings and they could pick the optimal opportunity to drop the writ. Governments could bide their time until they were certain the election results would be in their favour before making the walk to the governor general to dissolve government.

Now, with fixed election dates, there is no optimal time. It’s true, this means all parties now have a heads-up as to when the writ will be dropped, but it does so equally. There is no inside edge — the government doesn’t have the ultimate control.

And that’s a good thing.

Trying to set up limits as to what pre-election spending could be would only trample on the right to free speech, not only for parties but for interest groups as well. It would also impede government in its ability to provide funding for legitimate purposes — say for example if there were a disaster that required immediate government cash.

Let’s face it. The electorate isn’t stupid. Voters know when they’re being bought. At least with fixed election dates, the plethora of funding announcements can be viewed for what it is — attempts to buy the vote by a federal government on the ropes and desperate to get a bump in public opinion. And decisions at the polls can be made accordingly.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us