The minister responsible for elections reform says she is aiming to introduce legislation this fall that could impose a time limit on election campaigns. In an interview, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould outlined changes her office is considering — including how to deal with foreign “actors” who she said are “getting ever more creative.” A House of Commons committee recommended in June that a maximum election writ period be set at 43 days, more than a month shorter than the unprecedented 78-day campaign in 2015.
The chief electoral officer concluded after the last federal election that having no limit on the length of a campaign increased uncertainty for everyone except the incumbent government. Gould said there is “value” in the idea of setting a limit.
“(The election in) 2015 was an anomaly,” she said. “I think it goes back to our political culture, right — in terms of what Canadians are used to, what they expect from elections, when they really start to tune in and turn on in terms of when they’re getting engaged.”
Gould said spending is another big part of why a change could make sense, since limits increase by the day. “Canadians also want to know there’s a reasonable amount of money (being spent). … Level the playing field, in terms of which candidates can participate more fully.”