No place for negative ads

The federal election campaign for the Oct. 19 vote officially is underway.
Polls show the three major parties are in a neck-and-neck race, with 60 percent of eligible voter undecided and wavering between all three.
The electorate is volatile. Historic “safe” seats for the political parties may be up for grabs.
This election will prove interesting. And as recent provincial elections have shown, the decision of who voters actually will support will be made after the Thanksgiving weekend.
At 78 days in length, this election campaign will be the longest in Canadian history (the previous longest race lasted 74 days in 1926).
After the Second World War, Canadian elections lasted, on average, 60 days. Registering eligible voters and preparing polling lists took up the first three weeks of those elections.
During that period, the election campaign almost stood still in ridings. Lawn signs appeared. Billboards were raised. It was almost a non-election period.
More recently, election campaigns have been only 36 days in length.
The opening salvos by the three parties are focused on the economy. The Conservatives, for instance, are running on their success in the past eight years of managing the economy.
The Liberals and New Democrats, conversely, are wondering why the economy is sliding into a recession and questioning the Conservatives’ decision to stay the course.
I look for ideas on how they would stimulate the price of agriculture products, minerals, oil, and gas across the world to improve Canada’s economy and job creation.
It may be a worthwhile question.
Historically, the Harper Conservative government has underperformed the three previous leaders’ economic growth. However, no government had anticipated the drop in oil prices that has occurred worldwide.
Oil and natural gas had dominated Canada’s economic growth for the past decade. Manufacturing has expanded in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba, although not enough to offset the sudden loss of oil-patch jobs in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
The other big issue facing the three parties is the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations that would provide a $285-billion boost to the 12 countries participating in the talks.
Canada’s dairy and poultry industries are worried the deal will undermine the supply management system. Potentially opening up the markets would make dairy and poultry products less expensive in Canada.
While the Liberals and Conservatives support the negotiations, the NDP remain on the fence.
Another growing issue is where the three major parties stand in a request for an inquiry into Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women. Two of them are making this an issue in their party’s platform.
We will get 11 weeks of electioneering and hopefully, as many call-ins to CBC yesterday said, we will not see and hear negative campaigning by the parties.
Perhaps if an election rule was created that if you couldn’t say positive things about your party, then you should remain silent.
And if you only were criticizing other parties, those messages should never be aired or seen.

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