Dozens of groups with their own political agendas could, combined, spend millions in this federal election campaign trying to influence voters. These so-called “third parties” (they aren’t actually political parties) are registered to advocate and run advertising during the federal election campaign. They include public and private-sector unions; an anything-but-Conservative veterans group; animal rights supporters; the small-government National Citizens Coalition; environmental groups; the Canadian Medical Association and even one called “Voters Against Harper.” To date, more than two dozen third parties have registered with Elections Canada. Many will run ads either nationally or in specific ridings to support their agendas. Others will rely on grassroots approaches to targeting voters. Their goals include boosting funding for the CBC, improving seniors’ care, restoring door-to-door mail delivery, securing better services for veterans, electoral reform, and strategic voting, to name a few.
“The outcome of the election is going to come down to a handful of Conservative swing ridings, so we’re trying to build blocks of voters to vote together to defeat the Conservatives,” said Amara Possian, election campaign manager with Leadnow, an advocacy organization calling for action on climate change, democracy and the economy.
The group’s entire campaign is about channelling resources from what she says is a 450,000-person community across the country into ridings that can influence the outcome of the federal election.
There are 72 Conservative swing ridings where the group believes that people who want change can, by voting together, determine whether a Tory candidate wins or loses.