Though Canadians have hardly noticed an election campaign has been unfolding across the country for about a month. People still enjoying their summer vacations and the warm weather are now confronted with the reality that today is the first day of school and with that the parties will turn up their attention on the voters as well.
Despite a month having passed I have noticed shockingly little election activity. Everywhere I go signs are sparse. The incumbent parties tend to have a better operation off the ground and have a stronger presence at this point, but even that is pretty flimsy in my estimation. As for myself I have been working for the Brampton South NDP candidate, Amarjit Sangha. He was nominated after the writ was drawn up so we are just getting underway officially now. In fact, our campaign office is opening this Saturday at 2 PM at 8975 McLaughlin Rd, Unit 10. Very exciting!
When this campaign began it was stated that the Conservatives wanted to exploit changes in the election laws to allow them to spend a great deal of money. This is correct, but they haven't spent it evenly. We should expect heavy bombardments of advertising and other forms of campaigning in October and later into September.
The disengagement of the electorate in general is reflected in polling as well. The numbers have been stable and essentially moving within the margin of error. In many ways we are in the midst of a three-way tie. Consistently polls show the NDP with a modest lead, followed by the Conservatives and the Liberals. This morning I saw some polls suggesting the Conservatives have fallen to third, but we'll see if this pans out. First, as I said earlier in this campaign, following the national numbers is virtually meaningless. Provincial/regional breakdowns is far more useful in understanding what is happening in this election. It should be accepted that when the time comes the frontrunner will receive far more scrutiny and attacks. The Conservatives have millions of dollars waiting for the right time.
On the local scene, Brampton will be having its first debate on September 18th. All of the New Democrats and Greens have confirmed they will attend, three of the five Liberals and none of the Conservatives. I am curious to see if this tactic of avoiding the media and any form of scrutiny continues for the Conservatives going forward.
All in all it has been a quiet start to the election but this is about to change. In coming weeks I expect (hope) that signs start appearing across Canada to indicate Canadians' interest in the campaign. I am caught in a bit of a rock and a hard place for how to discuss the election. I am an active participant on one side. I cannot actively discuss all of my activities because that would be revealing internal business of the campaign. Regardless, I will do my best to write about the campaign as it moves forward.