Parties get behind their candidates – but is this election about the parties?

The Toronto Danforth by-election on March 19 has turned into a Festival of Democracy. There are eleven candidates. The candidate pool includes the candidates of both unregistered and registered political parties and two true independent candidates. The candidate (Leslie Bory) of an unregistered political party (Maple Party of Canada) will appear as an independent on the ballot. The large number of candidates will make for interesting debates, the discussion of a wide range of issues, and tremendous choice. The fact that the outcome of this election will NOT affect the balance of power in the House, gives residents of Toronto Danforth a real opportunity to vote for a candidate. Don’t people always vote for a candidate? Well, technically yes, but in actuality no. In many cases the candidate is simply the mechanism to vote for the party itself. For example check out the following tweet:

https://twitter.com/#!/christindal/status/174667918464925697

For example: I also received the flyer preaching the virtues of  Stephen Harper. The flyer gives us all kinds of reasons why. But, I don’t expect to see Stephen Harper on the ballot. Stupid me. I see now. The way to vote for Stephen Harper is to vote for Andrew Keyes (whoever that is). It’s hard to find much reference to him in the ad. There is a picture and a recommendation to vote for him But, that’s it.  But, there is really nothing to suggest that:

“The KEY to good representation in Toronto Danforth is to vote for Andrew KEYes”

The flyer does state that it is:

“Authorized by the Official Agent for the Andrew Keyes Campaign”

It’s just that it’s not an ad for Andrew Keyes. Andrew appears to be basically irrelevant. But, the ad is clearly being paid for by the Andrew Keyes campaign.

A second example: Along with the flyer for Stephen Harper I received a flyer from the NDP.  The flyer introduces us to the: NDP’s Team Toronto. Team Toronto is a stroke of genius. I have never seen a party work harder to promote the party itself in a local election. If one drives around Toronto Danforth one sees billboards advertising “Team Toronto”. (Maybe after March 19, Craig Scott’s picture will be there too. Or more likely, the NDP will have forgotten about Toronto Danforth.). Make no mistake about it. The NDP marketing machine is in overdrive to retain Toronto Danforth. (A very weak performance by the Liberals and an absent Conservative Candidate is playing into the hands of the NDP marketing machine.)

Question though: Is “Team Toronto” part of the Craig Scott advertising campaign or is it part of general NDP political advertising? The answer appears on the flyer that was put through my mailbox. The flyer clearly states:

“Authorized by the registered agent for Canada’s NDP”.

Unless these flyers are being distributed in the rest of Toronto (and who knows maybe they really are), this could be construed to be an attempt to market Craig Scott – the NDP candidate in Toronto Danforth. Well, if nothing else it demonstrates the strength and amount of the financial resources that the NDP is throwing at the Toronto Danforth by-election. Since, the ad is “Authorized by the registered agent for Canada’s NDP”, it not coming from the Craig Scott campaign budget.

That said, the voters of Toronto Danforth really should remember – they are voting for a candidate and NOT for a party (well that is if they want any representation at all).

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3 thoughts on “Parties get behind their candidates – but is this election about the parties?”

  1. The Leader of the Canadian Action Party Christopher Porter is also running in this by election ( which is a registered party ) So in that case you are voting for the leader of the party.

  2. “This by-election amounts to a choice of 10 leftist candidates and 1 right candidate.”

    — or, perhaps a better way of seeing it is as a by-election amounts to a choice of 10 intelligent candidates and 1 corporate clone.

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