If people were paying even the slightest bit of attention to the news over the last week or so the early election call on Sunday wasn’t a surprise.
In our last edition of the Citizen we had a story about two federal funding announcements as well as another story about a ribbon cutting on a project that had benefited from federal funding.
We’d hazard a guess that most community papers had similar stories.
We certainly got ample emails with times and places for such campaign stops. Because let’s face it, that’s what they were.
It was a veritable flood of attempts to buy your vote. MP John Duncan was the busiest guy on the Island last week.
(And we’ve never loved that particular political manoeuvre: the ruling party always has someone from their own party announce when a community gets money from the Government of Canada or the Province of B.C., even when that representative is from well outside of the constituency. The current federal and provincial governments certainly didn’t invent the practice, but it’s one we’ve never liked, no matter who’s doing it or how ingrained it’s now become in our public life. Our own representatives to those bodies should be doing the announcing, even if they’re not from the ruling party, because they were the choice of the people to form the government and to not let them do that job is an insult to the voters. But we digress).
Stephen Harper said he called the official campaign early because campaigning was already underway.
We’ve had a number of campaign-style stops in recent months from the NDP’s Tom Mulcair, for instance and from the Green Party’s Elizabeth May, in support to their parties’ local candidates.
The Conservatives themselves have indisputably been campaigning with things like their child tax benefit cheques along with last week’s largesse.
It’s a problem in Canada, and we see it even more pronounced in the U.S., that more and more of our government representatives’ time and money is spent on running for office rather than serving in office.
That’s why we hope that the long campaign we are now embarking on will turn out to be an anomaly and not the new normal.
It’s an exhausting marathon that makes it even harder than it already is for the average person to consider running for office.
And none of us want to have to sit through the inevitable attack ads — which have already been running for months — any longer than we have to.
At least on the local level we hope they keep respectful and informative.