Longer elec­tion cam­paign will cost tax­pay­ers more

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

It’s not just po­lit­i­cal par­ties that will be spend­ing money hand over fist if Stephen Harper fires the start­ing gun for the Oct. 19 fed­eral elec­tion weeks ear­lier than nec­es­sary.

Tax­pay­ers will be shelling out big bucks, too — mil­lions in ex­tra ad­min­is­tra­tive costs and tens of mil­lions more in re­bates to par­ties and can­di­dates for their in­flated elec­tion ex­penses.

Spec­u­la­tion is ram­pant that Harper is poised to of­fi­cially kick off the elec­tion cam­paign — known as the writ pe­riod — as early as this week­end.

That would make for an 11week cam­paign, the long­est fed­eral cam­paign since 1926 and more than twice the five weeks typ­i­cally al­lot­ted for cam­paigns in re­cent times.

Elec­tions Canada es­ti­mates that a cam­paign this fall of 37 days — the min­i­mum re­quired by law — would cost roughly $375 mil­lion to ad­min­is­ter.

The agency was not able to es­ti­mate how much more a longer cam­paign would cost, but spokes­woman Diane Benson ac­knowl­edged there would in­deed be some ad­di­tional ex­penses.

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