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Canadians continue to wonder why some of the most recent elections in the country simply had no competition amongst them, missing what happened in the five recent by-elections.
The recent elections, two of which were held in Ontario, two in Alberta, and one in Quebec, brought to four candidates who had to do by cheap limits imposed on them by the government. It makes one wonder if Canada could have had better government officials if people who are more determined to lead the country had reached the masses through better spending.
The Canadian government has been justifying its stance for these expense restrictions by stating that it levels the playing field among candidates, but is that the only solution? However, this entire ‘level the playing field’ argument isn’t actually benefitting any of the candidates, because it actually hampers the result of the election.
The only thing that it ensures is that the likelihood of an upset victory from someone that isn’t well-connected to well known. It actually has the opposite result, since those with the popularity, and the resources are the ones that are going to walk away from the election victorious.
This therefore, defeats the purpose of imposing restrictions on election spending for candidates. The current federal law is in place, and it will remain so, only benefitting those that are well connected, and have political affiliations.
In contrast, Americans have no restrictions on spending on elections, with an example of the 2012 presidential election, between former President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, which is one of the most expensive in recent history. Obama’s side had to spend around $985 million to win, and Romney’s campaign spent an eye-watering $992 million, and still ended on the losing side.
Looking at the numbers, you would think that there is a case for reigning in election spending, but when you look at the raw facts, you realize that they didn’t really spend that much. There were 315 million eligible voters in 2012, out of which 215 million voted. That comes down to Obama spending $4.58 per voter, and Romney spending $4.61 per voter, which isn’t a lot, when you do the math.