MP tables bill to limit election run-up timeline

A bill to limit any federal election period to 46 days was tabled by Cowichan-Malahat-Langford NDP MP Alistair MacGregor

A bill to limit any federal election period to 46 days was tabled by Cowichan-Malahat-Langford NDP MP Alistair MacGregor in the House of Commons earlier this week.

The bill, if passed, would reverse changes made to the Canada Elections Act in 2014 by the former Conservative government.

MacGregor said the intent of the bill is to ensure that the “rich parties” will have their ability to “buy elections” by spending more money effectively curtailed.

“If we are to create a fair electoral system, then we must also ensure that political parties are on a level playing field,” he said.

“This past election subjected Canadians to 78 days filled with a constant barrage of television and radio ads, all as a cynical attempt to increase the amount of election spending by political parties.”

The latest federal election was seen as a test for the Conservative’s Fair Elections Act, the controversial and sweeping legislation that introduced changes to how Canadians prove they are eligible to vote, the way elections are financed and how political shenanigans are investigated.

But it’s the part of the legislation that puts more money in the pockets of the country’s main political parties for a longer election campaign, while capping how much third parties can spend on election advertising that is concerning NDP MP MacGregor.

Natan Cullen, the NDP’s democratic reform critic, said the country needs to prevent “U.S.-style, big money politics in Canada.”

“Marathon election campaigns, where wealthy parties can essentially flood the airwaves with attack ads, have no place in a fair and democratic system,” he said.