Election 2015: It has (unofficially) begun

The first punches have been thrown; but no one has run or tried to dodge yet
Rahman Mohamed
Last updated 15 July 2015

The time is nearing.  October 19 is only 108 days away from July 3.  All Canadians know about the election, who’s running, and the where the finish line is.  The only unknown (besides who will be first to cross the finish line): when the race will officially begin.

Ads have begun to air.  From attack ads against Justin Trudeau, saying “He’s just not ready” to the NDP ads of Muclair saying “I was born and raised on middle-class values; I will fight for the middle-class” platforms and enemies are revealed.

That’s not all.  A non-partisan group, Engage Canada has begun rolling out its anti-Harper campaign titled “Not There For You”.  With TV ads that begin with a beating Maple Leaf, there’re statements backed by facts from the 2014 Federal Budget, media, Ontario Nurses Association, and Canadian Women’s Health Network, the Engage says the Harper government is worsening Canadian healthcare and it “won’t be there for you”, ending with the heart dying.

The Government of Canada is also airing ads.  The Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) is set to increase.  Introduced in 2006 and expanded in January 2015 as a form of taxable income to help parents care for children under 18, it’s set to increase on 20 July 2015 (91 days before the election).  Eligible parents will be given more money to look after their kids (and money they can pass on to political parties or a cheque they’ll remember when they use it for ID).

According to an ad about drug prevention released by Healthy Canadians, department of the Government of Canada,

Smoking a joint can seem harmless but … on average marijuana is 300 to 400 percent stronger than it was 30 years ago.  And smoking marijuana can seriously harm a teen’s developing brain.  Smoking marijuana.  It can damage a teen for life.  Get the facts and talk with your kids about the dangers of smoking marijuana.

The Liberals haven’t released their official election policy but Justin Trudeau is “highly” known for speaking about legalizing marijuana.

In love and war (and an election) everything is fair.  No one is ever spared.  Unfortunately it’s still a quiet campaign.  Elizabeth May or Gilles Duceppe haven’t entered the battlefield.  Surprisingly the Liberals haven’t released any response ads to the Conservative bashing of Trudeau either.

The newest twist in an election to watch: the Fair Elections Act being taken to court.  On 2 July CBC reported that a coalition has challenged the Act to the Ontario Superior Court.

The Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23)

  • reforms donation and election spending rules
  • reforms voter identification rules

Donation parties and candidates can now donate more to each other and themselves together with being able to accept more from registered associations.  In terms of voter identification it “prohibits the use of the voter information card as proof of identity” (i.e. making it useless at the polls), eliminates vouching but allows voters to sign a written oath in the presence of a voter who has one’s ID.

After failing to make the grade 15 times and being amended 17 times it passed on 13 May 2014.  To vote an elector needs to provide

  • 2 pieces of ID, one with a photo and one that confirms the voter’s address
  • If a voter doesn’t have residential ID can sign a written oath but only if vouched for by another voter who has all ID (photo and residential)
  • No one can vouch for more than one voter

Advance polls: now they’re only open between noon-8 pm on day 7, 8, 9, 10 before the election (October 9, 10, 11, and 12).  Now there’s one more chance for you to forget that credit card bill that confirms your ID.  Luckily polls are open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  So you can wake up before noon and go to vote instead of sleeping in.

All that remains now: will the rules improve the audience or just make it harder for fans to get in to the stadium and cheer their favourite on polling day (aka showdown day)