to ask Governor General David Johnston to dissolve Parliament
this Sunday. This would begin the longest election campaign in
Canadian history. It seems clear the Conservatives fully intend to
win by outspending their opponents. While this would be a
rather crass political movement if it occurs it would also be very
good for minor political parties such as the Pirate Party of
Canada. Here's why.
After the last federal election in 2011 the Leader of the Pirate
Party of Canada (with help from the candidates) wrote a report
detailing the party's performance in the election. One issue
that came up was the short time available for gathering the
required signatures to get a candidate's name on the ballot. As a
result several candidates who put their names forward after the
writ had been dropped did not end up on the ballot. However, the end date for candidate nominations (red circle) is based on
voting day (green hexagon) and not the day the election
campaign might officially start (blue triangle). Since people tune
into politics more during an election campaign the party has a
very real chance of topping the number of candidates it fielded
First Prediction: The Pirate Party will field more than 10
candidates in this election.
While the report noted the party had few resources to support
its candidates with it also noted the effectiveness of door-to-
door canvassing. The Pirate Party really can't count money as a
resource during an election. However, time is a resource the
party can use. And if Prime Minister Harper does engineer a
long campaign the party will have been gifted more than a
month of extra campaigning time. Not only that but campaign
signs purchased by the candidates will be up for that much
longer adding value to limited resources. This all adds up to
larger vote totals come election day.
Second Prediction: The Pirate Party candidates will have a
higher percentage of the popular vote.
A long campaign will be exhausting for everyone. It is going to
be exhausting for voters who are going to be bombarded by
attack ads from all three major parties (maybe the others, who
knows). Attack ads for two months is not likely to give people a
good impression of any of the parties. The Pirate Party (not having the money to attack even if it wanted to) will look
rather respectable by comparison. At the same time reporters are going to have a lot of column inches to fill. We Pirates
have been been very good at hitting above the belt when it comes to getting media attention. Every day extra is a chance
to draw positive attention to the party.
Third Prediction: The Pirate Party will gain a lot more media attention this time around.
None of these observations or predictions means the Pirate Party will actually win a seat. It does mean that while the tory
strategy is cynical to the extreme and an affront to good democratic practice, it isn't necessarily bad for the Pirate Party.