timberland shoe laces ‘Pushing the envelope’
Is the campaign risk worth the election reward?
That what it boiling down to for two wannabe London mayors, Paul Cheng and Paul Paolatto, whose shared tactic essentially, jumping the gun and campaigning in all but name earlier than allowed by law has been obvious by the TV ads, billboards and hall meetings that have sprung up in recent months.
perfectly legitimate for some voters to say, distrust somebody who wants to push the rules right to the limit. That a risk they take in doing this. But I also think it the right of these potential candidates to try to get their views known before the election. and Paolatto have made public their plans for mayoral runs in the October civic election, but under Ontario Municipal Elections Act, they can launch official bids for the top job for months.
Candidates aren allowed to collect or spend money on a campaign until they file paperwork to enter the race on or after May 1.
That in sharp contrast to the last election cycle in 2014, when nominations opened in January and began a 10 month campaign.
But those rules haven stopped either of Brown rivals from conspicuously advertising, appearances at high profile civic events or weighing in on key issues like a divisive plan for the largest infrastructure project in the city history, a $500 million bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
And this week, Paolatto unveiled a platform plank like case against the BRT plan the alternative transit plan he promised to outline is pretty much guaranteed to be a pillar of a future campaign.
Both not yet candidates also have crafted TV commercials that smack of two minute mayoral pitches, with Paolatto taking aim at London leadership and Cheng targeting BRT. But neither directly mentions a mayoral run.
A cynic might argue both men are taking advantage of a law that leaves the run up to May 1 a little muddy, some say.
Others say the pre campaign dance is likely unintended fallout of the revised Municipal Elections Act, changes that delayed the start of the nomination period from Jan. 1 to May 1 because of complaints that Ontario civic elections dragged on too long.
The move brings municipal campaigns more in line with provincial and federal election periods. Once the writ is dropped for Ontario 2018 provincial election, expected in June, it will be a relatively speedy 28 days until voters head to the polls.
But it also makes things tricky for challengers trying to garner recognition in a race,
especially stacked up against incumbents like Brown, who have a natural stage for big announcements even before the race begins.
Before the timing change, candidates including Brown, who plans to seek a second term were free to enter the race as soon as the new year arrived.
Early campaigning this time around could be enough to turn off Londoners, some of whom are wary of seeing the mayor office embroiled in scandal yet again, observers say.
Both Cheng and Paolatto refute the idea they playing fast and loose with election ethics.
Cheng argues he asking questions any taxpayer might pose, and said he pays for his town hall events out of pocket.
a citizen, I have free speech, he said. has nothing to do with the election. stopped TV advertising after he was informed of a complaint filed with the city clerk, but said he continue to promote his blog and engage with Londoners on social media.
He said the truncated campaign period is a huge hindrance.
all trying to figure this out. I trying to be respectful, but also give my candidacy a fighting chance, he said.
Political scientists agree it would be dangerous to muzzle citizens from talking about civic issues or challenging the status quo. Until May 1, Cheng and Paolatto are no different than any other citizens in the eyes of the law.
A Municipal Elections Act that can be a little fuzzy even for the experts doesn help.
lots of room for interpretation, and I think there probably is an opportunity to play it very close to the line and still not cross it, said John Mascarin, a Toronto based lawyer who specializes in municipal law.
close to the line on spending rules isn necessarily a predictor of rule breaking to come in the mayor office, he added.