There are two events currently happening which make for an interesting comparison.
In the U.S., the Republican party is electing delegates who will nominate their candidate for the presidential election. Here in Canada, the federal NDP will meet this month to elect a leader to replace the late Jack Layton. The perceived front runner, Thomas Mulcair, has reportedly raised slightly more than $200,000. This amount may possibly be able to pay for a 30 -second spot commercial in the U.S. where candidates have raised and spent millions, possibly billions of dollars. It’s clear the last candidate standing will be the one with the fattest wallet.
The closest we have to this in Canada is the recently concluded civic election which also has unlimited spending. The current provincial government had a task force which concluded that all was well and there was no reason to put in spending limits confirming the message that elected candidates would be those who spent the most.
Perhaps this message is the reason for poor voter turnout and the general apathy of voters. We can only hope that the next provincial government will see fit to examine serious changes to local governance.
Fred Girling, Surrey