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Federal election campaigns will get 'nasty': political scientist

Last Updated Sep 10, 2019 at 3:53 pm PST

(From top left) Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer , Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party leader Elizabeth May. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld, Andrew Vaughan, Cole Burston, Patrick Doyle)

Campaigning for Canada's 43rd federal election will begin tomorrow

A political scientist says there tone of the campaigns will be nasty

The worst activity could be on social media

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — As Canada’s federal election campaigns kick off Wednesday, we should expect it to get nasty.

David Moscrop, a political scientist from the University of Ottawa, says there will likely be a lot of negativity across the political spectrum through radio, TV and in print.

“It’s remarkably close already, and it might get even closer as we go, so people are going to start to get desperate,” he says. “That’s not just the Liberals and the Conservatives, the Greens and the NDP have been in a bit of a shoving match of their own ahead of the writ being issued.”


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Not only that, he says the attacks will get particularly antagonistic on social media.

“[It’s] much easier to do on social media to pick up old videos, disseminate videos, take things out of context, and then amplify, to release your armies of trolls or bots, partisan hacks out there to attack opponents,” he says. “I mean, it’s just cheaper and easier on social media. So, I suspect it will be one of the key battlegrounds and one of the nastiest.”

In a climate filled with misinformation, he feels the discourse could get confusing and toxic, and it could sway some voters.

“At the very least [it will] set the agenda and could poison the information space and make it difficult to have substantive conversations, productive conversations,” Moscrop says. “It will poison the public sphere and make having conversations very difficult.”

This campaign will be about 40 days, which is standard compared to the 78-day marathon election in 2015.

Moscrop says this may be best for the Liberals given things like the SNC Lavalin scandal.

Election fast facts

    • This is the 43rd election
    • There are 338 ridings nation-wide
    • A federal party needs to win 170 seats for a majority government
    • The 2019 campaign will be 41 days
    • The 2015 campaign was 78 days
    • Voters cast their ballots Oct. 21.


You can watch the first National Leaders’ debate hosted by Citytv and Macleans streamed live on NEWS 1130’s website.