Monday, June 28, 2004

#1: Ditch the elections gag law

There are several reasons why I believe eliminating the third-party election spending limits should be priority #1 for a Conservative minority, and not just that it's my primary irritation and high horse.

1) It might be difficult. The limits were mostly supported when enacted, including by all three of the other parties in the house. I suspect now though, especially in a free vote, that the Liberals might support eliminating or increasing the limits (see next reason). Proposing the elimation of the restrictions would demonstrate that Harper is not going to simply govern down the path of least resistance.

2) It is not self-serving. Most any group you can identify who might have advertised during this election but were not permitted, they are generally supportive of the Liberal way (public service & health unions, the Canadian culture people, etc.). Proposing the elimination of the restrictions would demonstrate that Harper will be governing to benefit all Canadians, despite possible harm to the Conservative Party.

3) It is Harper's unquestioned personal belief. Harper's name was on the lawsuit for pete's sake - it would be tough to convince us that now, he doesn't think it's such a big deal. Proposing the elimination of the restrictions would demonstrate that Harper's principles are not subject to political expediency, and that what he considered a fundamental freedom 4 years ago, and 6 months ago, he still considers fundamental.

4) It will do no harm. There is not an iota of evidence that Canadian voters have ever been brow-beaten into voting a certain way by a massive ad blitz. The results of the Charlottetown referendum, or the near-tie in the 1995 Quebec vote where "Non" outspent "Oui" 10 to 1, could be interpreted to suggest the opposite.

5) It's the right thing to do. Does even Democracy Watch think this was fairer and better than previous campaigns, in the absence of third-party advertising? I've hit this ad nauseam, but this campaign we were limited to hearing the opinions and spin of:
a) the political parties, and
b) CanWest Global, Bell Globemedia, and the Corpse
Expecting Big Media to give us all sides of the story, with balance, is ridiculous and unfair. Let's look at the Charter: hey, it says that the press is free! Nothing in there about neutrality, or being fair and balanced, or anything of the sort!

Give us a voice back, show us you have principles, and show us that you will do what is right, not what is easy.

See the preamble to this list.
Go to #2.

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