POLITICS

Pre-Election Spending Bill Promised By MP Wayne Easter

07/27/2015 09:59 EDT | Updated 07/27/2016 05:59 EDT
CP
The airwaves and internet in Canada are full of election ads even though the federal election campaign has not officially started, and Liberal MP Wayne Easter would like to see some limits on that.

Under fixed election date legislation the next federal election will be Oct. 19, but the campaign does not begin until the prime minister announces the writ, a minimum of 37 days before that.

Until the official campaign begins, parties do not have to account for their spending under Elections Canada rules.

"People are going to be so sick of election ads by the time the election actually rolls around," Wayne Easter, the Liberal MP for Malpeque in P.E.I., told CBC News.

"It's the Americanization of the Canadian system and I quite honestly don't like it."

Easter is promising if he is re-elected he'll draw up a private member's bill that would make pre-election spending count against parties' election-period spending limits.

Election spending limits increased

The Progressive Conservatives were the biggest spenders in three of four federal ridings in the last election, and they have the most money to spend of all the parties coming into the 2015 election.

Under new legislation, spending limits for political parties will go up at least five per cent in the coming election campaign. If the election campaign is longer than the minimum 37 days they could double.

Herb Dickieson, who is running for the NDP in Egmont in western P.E.I., said while the Conservatives would benefit most from setting a longer campaign, it takes more than money to win.

"We have a lot of volunteers involved in our group, and people are very committed to having that change take place here in Egmont," said Dickieson.

"That's worth more than what any money can buy."

Easter doesn't expect Prime Minister Stephen Harper to set a longer campaign period.

He noted the Conservatives and all parties can run ads right now, with no spending limits until the campaign begins.

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