06/25/2015 11:32 EDT | Updated 06/25/2016 01:12 EDT

HarperPAC much-needed counterbalance: former adviser to PM Harper

OTTAWA - A former adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he's not surprised to see right-leaning political organizers fighting back against union-financed third-party groups on the left.Tom Flanagan, a retired University of Calgary political science professor, says the group known as HarperPAC will help counterbalance pre-writ advertising efforts by other left-leaning organizations.One of them, Engage Canada, was launched earlier this month by former Liberal and NDP strategists.It was followed earlier this week by HarperPAC, the brainchild of a team of Conservatives that includes several former political staffers.Third-party groups can accept money from anyone, anywhere. There are also no limits on their advertising efforts in the period leading up to the election call.Former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley says a lack of regulation will take Canada down a path similar to the U.S., where political action committees, or PACs, raise and spend untold amounts of money to influence political outcomes.