The federal election campaign is in full swing. Although it has only been made official for just over a week, it seems politicians have been vying for our votes for months now. And with the billions of dollars in pre-election spending announcements constituencies have been receiving recently, it seems Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not only trying to keep his party top-of-mind, but is also trying to butter up the electorate for the Oct. 19 vote.
But that’s not even what bothers me the most as we head into the longest election campaign in modern history – which, in turn, will render it the costliest campaign in history.
What bothers me is the blatant misleading of information (also known as “lies”) being spread by the party that currently holds power.
In the Aug. 6 leaders debate – the first since Harper dropped the writ – the PM took liberties with the information he gave to Canadians, specifically in terms of the economy.
Harper bragged about his ability to balance budgets. It’s something he seems to pride himself on. To bad for him, our economy is heading into its second quarter of decline, dangerously flirting with a recession.
Harper himself said he didn’t deny the fact the economy has shrunk over the past five months, as NDP leader Tom Mulcair pointed out during the first televised leaders debate on Aug. 6.
What’s also worth noting is in July the Parliamentary Budget Officer predicted Canada is on track to scoring a $1 billion deficit for 2015-16, which would make eight consecutive deficits in a row for the country’s current leader.
But it’s not just the federal conservative leader who has misled the public.
During a parliamentary session in February of 2014, Brad Butt, the conservative MP for Mississauga-Streetsville, said on mail delivery days when voter cards are delivered to community mail boxes in apartment complexes, the cards are often thrown in the garbage. Butt went on to say, “I have actually witnessed other people coming in, picking up voter cards, going back to I guess whatever campaign of the candidates they support, and actually handing out those voting cards to other individuals who then walk into a voting station with a friend of theirs that vouches for them with no id.”
Jump ahead a week to another session of Parliament when Butt refutes his original statement, saying, “I have, in fact, not personally witnessed that activity”. He lied.
It seems the spreading of misinformation is prevalent in the conservative camp.
In July, incumbent conservative MP David Wilks announced a $156.6 million funding project in Revelstoke, admitting a few days later he made a mistake after a Revelstoke Mountaineer investigation uncovered Wilks’ discrepancies to the tune of $32.6 million.
Lies and politics seem to go hand in hand, unfortunately, but as far as I’m concerned, this government has crossed that line too many times. With so much deceit and distrust, it’s not much wonder many eligible voters won’t head to the polls on election day.